An integral component of the Dilaasa project has been to conduct research to understand the dynamics and impact of domestic violence in the Indian context, as well as to periodically evaluate and improve on its own practice. Building such evidence has been useful not just as a contribution to academia, but also to further the agenda of instituting health systems interventions for responding to violence against women, into health policy. Some of the key research projects undertaken as part of the project include:
1) Retrospective Analysis of Case Records: The analysis of case records of users of the crisis centre is underway which provides critical evidence on physical and mental health consequences of DV on women’s health, the nature of violence that is faced by women, their sources of support and pathways of reaching the health system.
2) Evaluation of Dilaasa: was conducted in 2010, by two renowned researchers, Dr.Sundari Ravindran and Dr.U.Vindhya. The crisis center’s work over 10 years was reviewed as part of the evaluation, interviews conducted with key stakeholders and its strategies were reviewed. Evidence from case records of the crisis center provided evidence that crisis center does facilitate early identification of women. The evaluation found that the model is indeed replicable and recommended that it be upscaled.
3) Documentation of Feminist Practices in Counselling for Domestic Violence: The Dilaasa initiative has demonstrated that feminist counselling is the most apt stream of counselling to respond to survivors of domestic violence. It not only questions oppression based on patriarchy but also builds the woman’s capacity to deal with her own distress. Although feminist counselling is practiced in centres around the country, there has been no documentation of the same. This book, published by Routledge Publications is the first such effort in India. It includes chapters on various aspects of feminist counselling and psychology and also documents 23 different practices from across the country. For more information about the Books see the following link:
4)Documentation of medico-legal procedures across hospitals: the aim of the research was to understand the procedures for registering Medico-Legal cases (MLC), in order to identify gaps and to advocate for a unifrom procedure for documentation of MLC cases. Interviews of doctors, nurses as well as those who maintain medico legal records were conducted across various municipal, private and government hospitals and analysed. It was seen that the procedures and rationale for what is termed as a medico legal case( MLC) was not similar across hospitals. The study raised several issues related to the women’s right to treatment and informed consent.
5) Violence faced by Female Health Workers: As study was conducting using qualitative means to understand and uncover the various types of gender based violence faced by female health workers. Focus Group Discussions were conducted with female doctors, nurses and ayabais from municipal hospitals in Mumbai. It was seen that all levels of health workers faced gender based violence both in the home as well as at the workplace. At the workplace, violence was perpetrated by senior as well as junior male colleagues. The health workers, particularly doctors, had never confronted or complained about this abuse. The health system must take cognizance of this if it wishes to really transform the health system and make it truly sensitive to gender based violence.