France: Social workers in Police Stations
Social workers in police stations is a nation-wide programme that consists of hiring social workers to be posted at police stations to welcome and orientate any person that is suffering from social distress and comes into contact with law enforcement. This closeness of social and law enforcement workers enables them to work together more efficiently by fostering trust and an exchange of information. Ultimately, this institutional answer is more effective since the situation is treated on a criminal but also on a social level, curbing the social distress that is, most of the time, among the causes of criminal behaviour. It is particularly helpful in situations of domestic violence, by helping victims and offenders to be less dependent upon each other and providing the help they need to go through the criminal justice process. There are currently over 400 social workers posted at police stations throughout the French territory.
Experimentations have started in the 80’s in France but the program has been developed and managed nation-wide since 2019 by the Secretary General.