Engendering Policing: Evaluating Reforms to Increase Women’s Access to Security and Justice
Last registered on October 11, 2018


Trial Information
General Information
Engendering Policing: Evaluating Reforms to Increase Women’s Access to Security and Justice
Initial registration date
October 11, 2018
Last updated
October 11, 2018 7:12 PM EDT

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Primary Investigator
University of Virginia
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Oxford University
PI Affiliation
University of Virginia
Additional Trial Information
On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Poor and marginalized citizens, particularly women, often lack access to a responsive police force and, consequently experience diminished security and high levels of crime and violence. Efforts to address such issues often include gender-targeted policing interventions, but the underlying assumptions as well as impacts of such interventions have not been rigorously studied to date. We study them in the context of India, a country plagued by rising rates of gender-based violence coupled with low rates of reporting of such crimes. We employ an RCT to evaluate whether the establishment of police station-level Women’s Help Desks (WHDs), as well as the deployment of additional female personnel to these WHDs, improves the responsiveness of frontline officers to women, as well as levels of crime and crime reporting. We aim to test the theory that the increased presence of under-represented groups within the police can favorably affect policing practices towards these groups.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Kruks-Wisner, Gabrielle, Akshay Mangla and Sandip Sukhtankar. 2018. "Engendering Policing: Evaluating Reforms to Increase Women’s Access to Security and Justice." AEA RCT Registry. October 11. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3357/history/35648
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Experimental Details
The Women’s Help Desks represent a treatment bundle that combines four elements: 1) the creation of physical spaces within stations mandated to assist women; 2) the development of standard operating procedures (SOPs) and training to guide officers assigned to the desks; 3) outreach to local women’s networks with the aim of socially-embedding the WHDs in their surrounding communities; and 4) the allocation of additional female officers to the WHDs.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
(1) citizen perceptions, including satisfaction with and trust in the police; (2) women contacting the police; (3) crimes registered – where increased reporting is indicative of more effective policing; (4) action taken on these crimes; (5) police officer perceptions and reported actions.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Our unit of randomization is the police station: treatment stations mandated to start WHDs will be compared to a control group with no WHDs. All treatment stations receive the first three components: creation of a desk, training, and community outreach. We have randomized the fourth component (allocation of additional female personnel) as a separate treatment arm. This will allow us to gain leverage on the question of whether or not the presence of additional female officers has an independent effect, above and beyond the effect of the WHD.

The Madhya Pradesh Police selected ten districts - with nearly 300 police stations - across the state to be representative of geography, demographics, and socio-economic conditions. After removing specialized police stations (headquarters, cybercells, etc.), we have 180 police stations in our sample. Within each district, we stratified police stations by geography (urban and rural) and by the first principal component of a vector of police station characteristics (number of assigned officers; number of registered cases; population served). We randomized our two treatment and control arms within these strata, with 61 police stations in the first treatment arm (WHDs with first three components), 59 in the second (WHDs with first three components + female police officers assigned), and 60 in the control arm.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done by computer using Stata.
Randomization Unit
Police station
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Approximately 2000 police officers; approximately 5400 women.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
61 police stations that have WHDs with first three components; 59 police stations that have WHDs with first three components + female police officers assigned; 60 in the control arm.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
Institute for Financial Management & Research
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
University of Virginia
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number