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Dilaasa – A hospital-based Crisis Counselling department for women facing violence

The Dilaasa project is a joint initiative of CEHAT and the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai (BMC). Originally, one Dilaasa centre was established in a municipal hospital, K B Bhabha Hospital, Bandra, in 2001. It was formally handed over by CEHAT to the staff of the BMC in 2006. Since then, CEHAT has been providing mainly technical support, and Dilaasa has been functioning as a project of BMC. Dilaasa means reassurance and the center seeks to provide psychosocial support to women survivors of domestic violence. Specific objectives of the project are:

  • To provide social and psychological support to women coming to the Department
  • To assist the key trainers of the five hospitals to train their hospital staff on an ongoing basis.
  • To build capacity of the training cell members to train the staff of the 16 hospitals and work towards making the hospital patient friendly.
  • To network with other organisations working on women's issues for mutual support and sharing

‘Dilaasa’ was created as a department of the hospital and the roles of doctors, nurses and social workers were defined clearly. Within a few years, once the concept was demonstrated and administrators and health care providers were convinced that domestic violence was indeed an important public health issue, increased owning up of the project was seen from within the health system. This attitude of the hospital staff is best demonstrated by the fact that the replication of this centre was carried out by a core group of another hospital out of a sense of deep concern for women reporting at this hospital.

This has since been replicated in other sites: at a medical college hospital in Indore and a civil hospital in Shillong and at primary health care sites in Bangalore. These different initiatives are a marker of Dilaasa’s growth and different ways in which it can be implemented within public health systems. Through the Dilaasa crisis intervention model, it has been established that a hospital based crisis centre is a place that women find safe and approachable. Hospitals with appropriate support through capacity building can run such hospitals without any additional burden on resources. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 too has recognised the critical role that health systems need to play vis a vis women facing domestic violence. The law has conferred health systems as service providers thereby expecting them to play a therapeutic and medico legal role in domestic violence cases. Recently, in the 12th Five Year Plan, the Planning Commission too has proposed a scheme for setting up of 100 crisis centres in public hospitals in India.

Supported by:

Ford Foundation (Current) Oxfam Novib Tata Social Welfare Trust (current)

Team:

From CEHAT: Padma Deosthali, Sangeeta Rege, Sana Contractor, Prachi Avalaskar, Rashi Vidyasagar, Anjali Kadam, Tejal Barai-Jaitley.

From MCGM: Dr.Seema Malik, Chitra Joshi, Mrudula Sawant, Sanjana Chikhalkar, Shardula Sarnobat