An International Women's Day programme was organised by CEHAT with 12 Dilaasa Intervention Department teams from BMC Hospitals, Mumbai on 13th March 2023.
Dilaasa a hospital based crisis centre was first initiated by BMC and CEHAT in 2000 at K. B. Bhabha Hospital Bandra. In 2015 NUHM replicated Dilaasa in 11 peripheral hospitals of Mumbai and CEHAT has been providing technical support to Dilaasa and hospitals in form capacity building through monthly case presentations, trainings. The idea of inviting survivors accessing Dilaasa services emerged from monthly case presentations with counsellors. 21 survivors of violence were selected from all the hospitals to share their experiences of receiving support from Dilaasa. BMC-NHM official, health care providers, police and protection officers were invited for the program. It was heartening to see more than 100 service providers from different sectors join in to listen to them
Survivors spoke how emotional support from counsellors proved to be a crucial element at a time when they had nobody to share their grievances. Right from recognizing different forms violence to understanding that it can’t be considered a normal phenomenon in domestic places, women found role of counsellors as pivotal. Safety assessment and plan discussed by counsellors was instrumental for women to tackle critical situation of violence. A 28-year-old survivor said, ‘initially I would just give up and face violence without any resistance but counsellor’s assessment and plan to ensure my and children’s safety helped to not only deal with violence but to stop it’.
Survivors shared that legal counselling by Dilaasa counsellors helped them to understand how laws like PWDV Act can not only protect them from violence but ensure their right to residence, protection, and maintenance, ‘after my husband passed away, brother in law and his wife would harass and force me to leave the house but I secured my legal rights and today I stay confidently with my children in the same home’, a 39-year-old survivor’s voice. Survivor spoke about how counselors guided them to lodge complaint in police, state grievances to legal aid lawyer, and also empower them to be financially independent. ‘Today I run a placement cell of my own, there was a time when I had no confidence of going out alone by myself’, expressed by 45-year-old survivor who faced violence from husband for 10 years.
Police and protection officer also talked about how presence of Dilaasa have helped them secure rights of survivors. Dr. Seema Malik who played a significant role in establishing Dilaasa quotes ‘This voices of survivors are a proof that counselling yields results in long run, I have got an answer for all those who would question me during initial days of Dilaasa’.