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Report on National Course on Comprehensive Healthcare Response to Survivors of Violence Against Women and Children, 30th August to 1st September 2018, Mumbai

CEHAT conducted a three-day intensive training for the health care providers on comprehensive response to violence against women and children, their roles and problem solving methods. There were 37 participants who were deputed from government hospitals from various states of India namely Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Delhi. The participants were doctors and nurses from departments such as Gynecology, Pediatrics, Forensic, Surgery, and Casualty that are likely to come in contact with survivors of violence. The objective of the course was to build the perspective to identify the survivors of violence based on health complaints and enhance skills to provide first line support.

The methodology was experiential and interactive, informing participants of theoretical concepts with scope for hands-on learning through discussion of case studies and role plays, followed by Q&A. This provided opportunity for discussion and debate. The participants were inquisitive and enthusiastic and shared various examples of instances that they had intervened in.

U.Vindhya, Professor and former Chairperson, School of Gender Studies at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad campus, oriented the participants about the difference between sex and gender and root causes of gender based violence. Participants found the concept of intersectionality interesting as it brought forth the underlying complexities and helped place the survivor in the social context. This was followed by a session on understanding the link between violence and health and recognizing types and forms of violence.

The second day was facilitated by the CEHAT team. The day began with a session on legal responsibilities of healthcare providers, providing clarity on their role vis. a vis. various laws related to VAW. This was followed by day long practice sessions on strengthening communication with survivors. Participants were introduced to the LIVES model (WHO) to provide first line psychological support. The model was demonstrated by Dr. Sneha Khedekar, the nodal person of Dilaasa at M.T. Agrawal Hospital, Mulund and Matron Sneha Chandan, core group member of Dilaasa at  Rajawadi Hospital.

Following the demonstration, participants tried their hand at practicing the model in small groups of threes where they got a chance to play the role of survivor, doctor, observer with the help of case studies.

The third day focused on the response to survivors of sexual violence. The session was facilitated by senior forensic expert, Dr. Jagadeesh Reddy. Participants were familiarized with the nuances of the protocol and guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Health. They got hands-on experience of drafting opinions through sample proformas assigned to them in groups.

The major learning of the health care providers was the understanding of violence, patriarchy being the root cause, strengthening skills on how to ask survivors about violence and communicate first line support and understanding of medico legal care – both theoretical and application.

Participants gave feedback that the well structured training encouraged them to critically analyze and apply the concepts to their work with enhanced understandig

Some health care providers also showed keen interest in setting up hospital-based centers back at their hospitals. They shared that there is a shift in perspective which helped them understand their therapeutic role as well as how to reach out to survivors in a more sensitive and empowering manner.

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