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A team of senior police officers from India has visited Sheffield Hallam University as part of a Government project aimed at improving access to justice for female victims of violence. 

The two-year project, led by Sheffield Hallam University's Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice (HKC) and funded by the British High Commission in India, will seek to increase access to justice, rights and protection for female victims of violence in the states of Delhi, Haryana and Punjab through the training of police officers and lawyers.

The project has designed an innovative police training programme that will raise awareness and understanding of the barriers to justice for victims and strategies to tackle associated issues, with the aim of preventing victims from pulling out of the criminal justice system.

As part of the project, five senior police officers and two academics from India are visiting England for a study tour, where they will meet and share experiences with police forces in South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire.

On the first day of the tour, the delegation was introduced to South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings and Sue Fish, Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police, who recently led a major initiative in her force to record misogyny as a hate crime in a bid to tackle sexist abuse.

Dr Billings said: "The problem of violence against women and accessing appropriate justice in India is well documented, so this project is essential and we were delighted to make links with our colleagues and discuss new ways of thinking to combat this problem."

Chief Constable Fish said: "It was a privilege to present the work we have led in this area to the delegation from India. This is a global issue and there is commonality between our experiences - but listening to the insights from our international colleague allows us to understand the issue in a different context."

The seven-strong delegation is led by Anuradha Shankar, a senior officer in the Madhya Pradesh state police force.

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Ms Shankar said: "This visit has shown us the importance of a multi-dimensional approach to social justice. Aspects of people's lives - how they live, where they live and how they interact - are all vital elements when understanding the issue of gender-based violence.

"It is also clear that the issue cannot be addressed simply through traditional policing methods. We have discussed the importance of areas such as counselling for victims and the availability of female police officers for communities who traditionally would be used to dealing with just male officers."

The project is funded by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy, and led by the HKC's Dr Sunita Toor.

Dr Toor said: "Through the training we hope to create empowered police officers who have the ability to perform their duties more effectively, improve operational practice and prevent fewer victims from pulling out of the criminal justice system. The focus on justice is paramount.

"This part of the programme is a fantastic opportunity for senior police officers to see first-hand how police forces in the UK deal with complex cases of violence against women and girls, and better understand the structure of our multi-agency relationships."

For press information: Please contact Martin Webb in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2621 or email