Police Trained to Respect Religious Differences in Domestic Violence Cases, Raising Concern

October 25, 2005

Source: Herald Sun


On October 25, 2005 the Herald Sun reported, "Police are being advised to treat Muslim domestic violence cases differently out of respect for Islamic traditions and habits. Officers are also being urged to work with Muslim leaders, who will try to keep the families together. Women's groups are concerned the politically correct policing could give comfort to wife bashers and keep their victims in a cycle of violence. The instructions come in a religious diversity handbook given to Victorian police officers that also recommends special treatment for suspects of Aboriginal, Hindu and Buddhist background... Police are told... it would be appreciated in cases of domestic violence if police consult the local Muslim religious leader who will work against 'fragmenting the family unit'. Islamic Women's Welfare Council head Joumanah El Matrah called the guidelines appalling and dangerous. 'The implication is one needs to be more tolerant of violence against Muslim women but they should be entitled to the same protection,' Ms El Matrah said... The 50,000 handbooks instruct police to take shoes off before entering Buddhist and Hindu houses and mosques, and remove hats before entering or searching churches. They are warned that taking photos or samples from Aboriginal suspects could raise fears they could be used for sorcery and spiritual mischief. Australasian Police Multicultural Advisory Bureau head Gerard Daniells, who created the 82-page full-colour handbook, said common sense would prevail over the guide in an emergency."