A two-day training session for healthcare providers on comprehensive healthcare response to violence against women and children was held on December 14 and 15 at Kilpauk Medical College, Chennai. 39 healthcare providers, a mix of doctors and nurses from 40 medical colleges in and around Chennai attended the workshop. Participants belonged to the forensic, paediatric, casualty, Ob Gyn departments.
The training was inaugurated by Dr. Edwin Joe, Director, DMER and the Deans of participating medical colleges. Resource persons facilitating the session were Advocate Ujwala, Aarthi Chandrasekhar (CEHAT), Vidya Reddy (Tulir) and Dr. Jagadeesh Reddy.
Current medico-legal practices on responding to patients reporting with assault were discussed. Power and control as the key operational components in violence were emphasized, that mental illness of the perpetrator cannot be used as an excuse was also discussed. Sessions were made interactive through use of case studies where participants identified forms and consequences of violence. This exercise was useful in understanding the link between violence and health.
A questionnaire on perceptions about child sexual abuse was circulated by Tulir. The statements were taken up for discussion to address myths associated with the issue.
Hospitals were encouraged to ensure child safeguard policy to prevent occurrences of sexual violence at the hospital.
The session on preparing as a court witness equipped doctors with knowledge and skills to engage with the judiciary as medical experts, the need to educate the judiciary of the scope of medical evidence.
The Government Order passed by the Govt. of Tamil Nadu was shown to the participants so that they are aware of the state decision to follow the central guidelines.
We received positive feedback from participants. They were looking forward to using a non-judgmental approach as healthcare professionals. They learnt the importance of seeking informed consent and irrelevance of past sexual history, they gained confidence about deposing as expert witnesses in court.