Domestic violence is the predominant form of violence against women in most countries in Africa and Latin America. Scholars have theorized the adoption of domestic violence laws and policies in both regions. However, policy implementation is understudied and under theorized. Therefore, we compare how international organizations and women's nongovernmental organizations have influenced the implementation of domestic violence policies by police officers in Liberia and Nicaragua. We introduce the concept of the transnational implementation process and describe how international organizations and women's organizations have employed training, institutional and policy restructuring, and monitoring to influence police behavior at the street level. The effects of these strategies have been conditional on the political environment. We identify two patterns of international and domestic influence on street-level implementation: Internationally led and domestically supported implementation in Liberia, with domestically led and internationally supported implementation in Nicaragua.
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Liberia exemplifies a transnational implementation process that was internationally led and domestically supported. Implementation was led by the United Nations, and strongly supported by the state and by women’s organizations. In this article, we consider implementation as the performance of street-level police officers, and we focus specifically on the reduction in the revictimization of survivors and the referral of domestic violence cases to the courts. Officers of Liberia’s Women and Children Protection Section (WACPS) of the police force are tasked with receiving all forms of VAW. The WACPS was established in 2005 under a memorandum of understanding between the United Nations Children Fund and the Liberia National Police (LNP) in response to widespread rape during and after the country’s civil war. The section was created as a part of the police reform process led by the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) that began in 2004. The first cohort of WACPS officers graduated from the police academy in 2005 and the first unit became operational in September 2005. Within eight months, six units had been established across the country and by December 2008, each of Liberia’s 15 counties had one WACPS unit.
Copyright © The Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association, 2019.
- Women's rights
- domestic violence
- transnational advocacy
- violence against women
- women's policing