Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation

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Policy and Research Papers

The Police That We Want: A Handbook for Oversight of the Police in South Africa

A handbook for assessing police performance in countries undergoing democratic transition has been published by the Johannesburg-based Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, in association with the Open Society Foundation of South Africa and the Open Society Justice Initiative.

The Police That We Want: A Handbook for Oversight of the Police in South Africa , by David Bruce and Rachel Neild, offers an outline of "democratic policing"—the behavior and techniques appropriate to police in a democratic setting. The book includes a set of indicators designed to assess democratic policing in order to encourage transparent and objective evaluation of the priorities and progress of police reform.

Written primarily for South Africa, the handbook follows international practices in policing and police oversight and can be adapted for use in other countries by all those supporting and overseeing police reforms. The indicators are applicable even where local police use different structures, systems, or operational strategies.

The Police That We Want identifies five areas of democratic policing and provides key measures for evaluating performance in each area. The five areas are the protection of democratic political life; police governance, accountability, and transparency; service delivery for safety, justice, and security; proper police conduct; and the police as citizens.


Transitioning Toward Gender Justice: A Trend Analysis of 13 African cases

Gender justice sees equal power relations, privilege, dignity, and freedom for people of different genders as a necessary component for any “just” society and a prerequisite for development. Gender justice includes gender equality, meaning substantive freedom for all genders to have genuine choices about their lives. Mirroring a global pattern in peace and security practice and policy-making, transitional justice (TJ) practice has tended to reduce gender justice concerns to violence against women (VAW). This policy brief advocates for policy-makers to adopt a broader and more meaningful understanding of gender justice, and to incorporate it into their TJ policymaking. To demonstrate the need for a broader understanding of gender justice within TJ processes, this policy brief draws upon a study conducted by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) on the drivers and impacts of TJ in Africa. The study examined gender trends emerging from 13 African countries that had State-led TJ processes between 1990 and 2011, and their impacts up until 2016. Based on the academic literature and available data for the 13 cases, four key factors were used as basic indicators of gender justice: women’s political rights and representation; women’s economic equity; women’s participation in civil society; and State measures against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

For full access to Transitioning Toward Gender Justice: A Trend Analysis of 13 African cases, kindly follow the link. 


Participatory Methods in Violence Prevention

The report engages with issues such as deciding on the level of participation that is possible, acknowledging time and other constraints, designing tailored and accessible collaborative learning processes, adopting a participatory approach to stakeholders and conducting regular reflection, monitoring, and evaluation exercises. Through this, it highlights ways to address the challenges of working intimately and on a more or less equal basis with community members in the service of lasting social change.

For full access to the report Participatory Methods in Violence Prevention, please follow the link.