The workshop for counsellors, titled ‘Building Perspective and Skill Development of Counsellors on Violence against Women & Children’, began with an introduction to the concept of violence, and how it plays out in a patriarchal society. Participants were briefed about one-stop centres that aim to provide aid to survivors of violence. The need to break stigma around sexuality in order to curb violence was discussed. Counsellors were given guidance on legal and police procedures relating to VAW. They were familiarised with feminist counselling and comprehensive healthcare response to violence.
Healthcare providers too were briefed about sexuality, patriarchy and prevalence of violence in society. They were presented with national policies regarding violence, and also provided WHO data that demonstrated the role of gender in healthcare. Doctors were urged to keep in mind the importance of informed consent while examining and treating victims of violence. They were made aware of their role in medico-legal cases, and a practice role-play session was conducted for better understanding.
Counsellors found the sessions on gender, sex and sexuality, and laws relating to the issue to be most useful. “Training on how to deal with child survivors of violence will prove to be very useful, and is greatly appreciated,” said a participant. Overall, participants were satisfied with the trainings.
Healthcare providers were also found to be very satisfied with the training, and orientation to issues of sexuality and gender. Doctors also suggested providing this sort of training to the police and lawyers handling cases of violence.
A common complaint for both, counsellors and healthcare providers was the lack of time to learn all the concepts. Several participants suggested a longer duration for a workshop, or refresher courses every few months. Both groups appreciated the interactive and engaging methods of teaching.