The Vision and Mission of Siren Associates

Around the world, police frequently struggle to gain public trust. An overly reactive approach, corruption, inefficiency, and a lack of inclusivity are common causes of strained relations. Lack of trust makes it harder for the police to understand and meet community needs. This doesn’t have to be the case. Recent examples from Jordan and Lebanon show that this gap can be bridged.

Siren Associates is a UK registered not-for-profit headquartered in Beirut. Siren Associates helps transform organizations so that they are more professional, effective, and accountable to the communities they serve. Siren builds an evidence base for change, strengthen capacities at all levels and leverage technology to remove barriers to safety, justice, and freedom.


Co-leading Campaigns to Tackle Online GBV

Various issues pertaining to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) include societal attitudes towards the victims that discourage them from seeking help. Only 26% of Amman’s population would encourage women to report a GBV incident to the police, with over 40% suggesting taking no action.

Recognizing the urgency of addressing this issue, Siren took action to facilitate partnerships between the Public Security Directorate (PSD – the Jordanian police) and communities to reduce barriers in accessing help. Siren empowered six Community-Based Organizations to raise awareness around interpersonal cybercrime and share safety messaging. Police officers provided guidance on ways to access support and preventing online criminal activities during information sessions. Furthermore, Siren developed a digital application called Tareek that provides educational resources on cybercrime and confidentially connects cybercrime victims with protection actors, including police and Community-Based Organizations. With over 280 referrals to date, Tareek is bridging the gap in access to support services and raising awareness about cybercrime.

In Jordan statistics from the Jordanian National Committee for Women’s Affairs reveal that a staggering 80% of women have experienced online harassment. Cyber violence is a key concern for a third of Jordanians and Syrian refugees.

These initiatives yielded tangible results. Their results are:


The Safe Corniche Initiative

According to UNWOMEN, 60% of Lebanese women report having experienced sexual harassment in the streets at some point in their lives. While in 2020, Lebanon’s Parliament passed Law 205 – criminalizing sexual harassment and expanding access to justice for survivors – comprehensive enforcement remains to be seen and GBV continues to be a widespread issue in the country, including along Beirut’s famous seaside Corniche.

In a Siren-led survey from March 2022, a staggering 77% of respondents expressed concerns about sexual harassment on the Corniche. Considering these findings, Siren took proactive measures to address the issue by fostering partnerships between Lebanon’s Police, the Internal Security Forces (ISF), and local communities.

Collaborating with women’s safety organization Becky’s Buttons, the ISF organized two awareness-raising campaigns on the Corniche, focusing on educating the public on Law 205* and reporting to the ISF. Led jointly by Siren, the police, and local community groups, the campaign sent a powerful message against sexual harassment, while providing actionable guidance on addressing incidents.

The ISF designed and distributed flyers providing safety tips to prevent incidents, guidelines on reporting sexual harassment, information about Law 205, and a guide on supporting victims of harassment, while CBO volunteers installed a kiosk offering passers-by personal alarms that emit a piercing sound in the event of a verbal or physical assault.

The campaign proved to be successful. In one of the latest surveys conducted by Siren, feedback as well as confidence in their program was encouraging. Some of the numbers include:

  • 95% of respondents noted improved personal and community safety.
  • 68% reported increased trust in the police.
  • 77% believe that the program was “contextually appropriate” in terms of society and culture.

These efforts are all in line with Siren’s broader commitment to advancing gender equality. Their work to promote security is shaped by UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and they are closely working with security institutions to elevate the role of women across the security sector in the region.

*Lebanon passed a law called Law 205 making sexual harassment a crime and protecting the Lebanese employees from gender-based violence. This law punishes offenders, the higher the position of the offender the harsher the punishment.

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NO Comment 28th April 2024

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