Afghan National Police Open Family Response Unit

Afghan officials cut the ribbon to the first-ever Afghan National Police Family Response Unit in District 10. The unit is intended to provide a safe haven for victims of abuse.

Photo by Mason Lowery / Office of Security Cooperation – Afghanistan Photo

KABUL, Afghanistan (CENTCOM) — Afghan officials demonstrated the country’s commitment to human rights in January by opening the first family response unit, a haven for victims of abuse.

Women, children, and disabled and elderly people are welcome at the facility, which officially opened with an all-female staff. The Afghan National Police, which responds to domestic-violence incidents, took the lead on the project.

“All [developed] countries have this program and now Afghanistan does, too,” said Dr. Sima Samar, leader of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. “I hope people will not be afraid to use it. I hope women will not be further punished for coming here [and that] the police will defend their rights.”

Before its official opening, the family-response unit already had helped victims of abuse, police said. Ken Schauer, an American adviser to the ANP, said the facility provides women with an option they didn’t have before.

“Whereas a female victim was previously reluctant to go to the police and tell a male officer her personal problems, she will now have a place to go and talk to another female,” Schauer said.

“Addressing the issues of human rights, domestic violence and gender rights is a priority in any society. Hopefully, over the course of time, the concept will be expanded to other districts … across the country,” he said.