Report of the Governance Meetings and ICPC Colloquium
10-14 November 2008
Prior to the meetings I spent one week in Montreal where the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime (ICPC) has its offices where I presented a paper at a “Lunch and Learn” seminar organized by the ICPC on the early stages of the Restorative Justice project in the APY lands of South Australia with Professor of the University of Montreal.
I flew down to Queretero via Mexico City on the 9th of November with ICPC staff. Queretero, 3 hours East of Mexico City by bus is a large regional Industrial and business hub which has grown rapidly in the last decade. The governance meetings and colloquium were held in a massive hotel complex which was formerly a large hacienda.
Present at the governance meetings were representatives of South Africa, Canada, Norway, Mexico, El Salvador, Australia, The United Kingdom, Chile, Argentina, France, The National League of Cities (USA) and the UN Habitat. Apologies were received from The Australian Government, Belgium, Hungary, Latin American forum for Urban Safety and Democracy, Naif Arab University and Servant Forge.
Four new members Chile, El Salvador, Mexico and Argentina presented to the Board outlining their present and future interests in crime prevention policies and activities.
The ICPC President Raymonde Dury outlined ICPC's most recent achievements notably:
• Publication of the 1st International Report on crime prevention and community safety
• Celebration of the ICPC's 15th Anniversary which will be held on the week of October 19 2009 in Vancouver Canada. These will evaluate the last 15 years of Crime Prevention practice world wide and continue the process of planning the next 15 years of ICPC activities.
• Responding to Executive suggestions that ICPC offices should be established in Europe, Africa and Latin America.
ICPC Director General Valerie Sagant also spoke of achievements to date in 2008 including:
• Presentations in Norway, Trinidad and Tobago, Rabat and Germany of the International Report on Crime Prevention and Community Safety, perspectives 2008 and the” International Compendium of Crime Prevention practices to inspire the world”.
• Training and dissemination of knowledge with regard to the role of Police in crime prevention.
• Dissemination of specific tools such as the “Compendium of Practices and Policies on women's Safety and “A practical guide for local action on public nuisance”. These presentations are available to members for presentation in their own countries.
• The overhaul of the ICPC website to improve and encourage information sharing and provide members with specific services. Development of ICPC working relationships with International bodies such as ONU-Habitat, ONDC and OAS.
Valerie Sagant outlined the future 2009-2010 work plan including:
• Continued distribution of the International report and the International compendium.
• Preparatory work for the 2010 International report
• Celebration of ICPC's 15 anniversary.
• Preparation for the 12th UN conference to be held in El Salvador or Brazil in April 2010.
• Organisation of a conference focusing on research into Aboriginal policy in March 2009.
• Continued training of Police services
• Launch of the new website
• International development of the ICPC.
Valerie then presented a summary of themes for the 2010 International report which included, youth at risk, evaluation of projects, street gangs, human trafficking, sex tourism, prevention of recidivism by effective rehabilitation programmes in prisons, marginalization as a criminogenic issue, organized crime and the impact of immigration on crime.
It was also reported that the ICPC scientific committee has been broadened in order to achieve gender balance and improved geographic representation as well as a more effective interdisciplinary mix.
Treasure Claude Dauphin presented budget reports and the new budget for 2009 was approved. The ICPC is in a sound financial state despite the continuing problem of late subscription payments.
Members then reported on developments in their own countries. My report noted a general lack of Government support particularly at State level for crime prevention initiatives in the light of universal “tough on crime” policies. Many present expressed surprise and regret that Australia in no longer an internationally recognized trend setter in crime prevention.
Membership benefits were also discussed including access to ICPC's international activity as well as assistance to members online with regard to accessing resources for projects and programs. It is also recommended that access to the ICPC knowledge base be reserved for members only but that publications still be published and available to all.
It was also agreed that membership contributions be maintained at three levels i.e. $350 (US) for organizations with limited resources, $1000 for medium sized organizations and $2000 for those with more resources.
It was noted that my mandate for Board membership expires in 2009 along with South Africa, Canadian Association of Police Chiefs, City of Montreal and the City of Paris.
Barbara Holtman (Council for Scientific and Industrial research, South Africa,) presented an inspiring and challenging outline of “Action for a Safe South Africa” a program in early stages of implementation in her country. She pointed out that for example it is estimated that South Africans spend 41 billion rand annually on alcohol and some 4.6 billion annually on private security. Barbara pointed out that it is generally recognized in South Africa that “the justice system cannot possibly keep us safe” and that “children have not been taught the culture of lawfulness”. Gang cultures where young people “stop being vulnerable victims and become offenders” is a crucial problem as is what Barbara calls the “culture of uselessness” which in part stems from high levels on unemployment. An ambitious and inspiring program based on early intervention, community safety projects and the utilization of existing social capital has commenced this year.
8th Annual Colloquium of the ICPC “The safety of Women”
This was an extremely successful event. Well attended with over 250 delegates from all over the globe, the Colloquium featured presentations of very high standards that summarized projects and policies to do with advances in this critical area.
Central to the South American presentations was the concept of “machismo” where males assume that the repression and exploitation of women is part of being a “real” man.
Jose Alfredo Botello Montes, Secretary of State in Queretero in his opening address pointed to significant changes with regard to the status of women in Mexico that have led to a gradual change to legal and other approaches to create a rule of law that offers real protection to the most vulnerable in Mexican society.
Mexico has a population of 103 million, with women outnumbering men by approximately 2 million. 50% of women are under the age of 25 years. 40% of divorces are initiated by women, with the Mexican divorce rate being around 20%. 50% of women surveyed report being assaulted by their spouse, while 50% of female homicides occur in domestic relationships.
ICPC Director General Valerie Sagant in her key note address spoke of women's safety as “a shared global concern” and described violence against women a violation of basic human rights. She clearly pointed out that in some parts of the world violence against women involves 66% of the female population and that this includes phenomena such as human trafficking as well as domestic violence. There is a need, Valerie argued, to further analyse male domination models as the vulnerability of women is almost always linked to a lack of social status. A lack of education opportunities illustrates how women are often repressed by male dominated societies. Aboriginal women around the globe are therefore particularly vulnerable.
Valerie outlined 4 objectives of the Colloquium:
1. To make violence against women visible
2. Make violence against women easier to identify an describe (e.g. ask Police to keep more effective statistics)
3. Avoid the “some evil men” syndrome Men and boys need to redefine their roles in relationships.
4. Reinforce a collective approach in communities to dealing with violence.
Professor Caroline Moser of the University of Manchester's School of Environment and Development argues that women's safety should be mainstreamed at the policy level by Governments at all levels as the ultimate goal of the women's safety is to establish gender equality. She spoke of the phenomenon of “policy evaporation” where there is no implementation after resources are expended in the development of government policy and “policy invisibilation” where no resources are put into the evaluation of programmes to establish and maintain effective practice. She also expressed the view that in particular Latin American countries rarely enforce innovative anti-violence legislation.
I was pleased to be invited to act as raporteur for a session entitled “Building effective partnerships for women's safety”. An indication of the breadth of the Colloquium input, the session featured presentations from Lilianna Rainero, a feminist activist from Latin America, Mercedes Amples, a Deputy Police Commissioner from Nicaragua, Cookie Edwards, a social activist from South Africa and Elizabetha Bozhkova from Russia. All four argued that partnerships:
• build influence and effective change,
• that partnerships increase the capacity for change,
• that they open doors to awareness raising,
• overcome political indifference
• encourage local communities to participate
• build trust
• create and maintain enthusiasm
All agreed that Police and Local Government are critical to progress as is civil society the media, and the education system.
Other topics addressed by participants included:
• “Understanding the realities of violence against women”
• “Creating safe and inclusive communities for women”
• “Women's leadership, the role of women in crime prevention”
• “The role of cities and local government in women's safety”
• “Key developments and Principal challenges at the International level”
All papers are available on the ICPC website in English, French and Spanish as is the Colloquium companion volume “Women's Safety a shared Global concern: Compendium of practices and policies”
This Colloquium was an extraordinary event in bringing together the very best practitioners and theorists from around the world and demonstrates the ICPC's increasing capacity to lead world opinion and practice in this and other critical crime prevention and community safety debates.
Executive Board Member ICPC
Public Officer/Secretary ACPC