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Strengthening response to violence against women and girls

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This project is an initiative of iCALL, TISS in collaboration with the UNFPA and its sister organisations, UNWomen and WHO. It aims to deliver support and enhance the capacities of counselors and social workers at One Stop Crisis Centers, Special Cells, Family Counselling Centers, Protection Officers and those working with women survivors to provide psycho-social support to women and girls facing violence during the COVID-19 pandemic in the states of Rajasthan, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Violence against women and girls, as defined by the UN, is any act that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering of women including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. However, humanitarian crises and natural disasters see a universal spike in the numbers of this long-existing issue. There has been an increase in violence and harassment against women during the COVID-19 lockdown due to the restricted mobility, confined living conditions, heightened tensions as well as increased security and health concerns. In light of this, UNFPA, UNWomen and WHO have come together and joined hands with iCALL, TISS to ensure that measures to address violence against women and girls are included in the COVID-19 response and recovery at country, regional and global levels, in line with the principle of leaving no one behind.

Informed by a participatory, empowerment- oriented approach, several trainings will be conducted guided by a curriculum that will be developed in collaboration with the participants, and their needs & concerns in light of the unique challenges they’re facing as first responders to the issue of violence against women and girls. This will serve as an important step towards building capacities of key services to improve quality of response.

Training Objectives: 

  • To help counselors and social workers providing psycho-spcial and legal counselling to women survivors of violence, develop a nuanced understanding of violence against women and the theoretical psychosocial concepts that underlie the phenomena.
  • To provide them with an understanding of specific strengths-based psycho-socio-legal counselling techniques and processes and adapt them to the context of COVID-19.
  • To build knowledge around laws pertaining to violence against women, its proceses & implementation, especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • To equip them with skills to navigate ethical dilemmas faced during VAW focused counselling. 
  • To build and enhance self care practises in the counsellors to address their own stressors & build resilience. 
  • To build a curriculum that serves as a resource that can be used further to enhance the preparedness of violence counsellors post the COVID pandemic as well.
  • To capture the voices and narratives of counselors working with the issue of domestic violence during / right after the COVID-19 pandemic in a methodical manner.
  • To develop a protocol about the different processes and stages involved in responding to specific concerns, along with key techniques and skills associated with each stage.

Training participants: Participants from the training include counselors and social workers at

One Stop Crisis Centers, Special Cells, Protection Officers and those working with women survivors in the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan. 

Training Description: The training aims to build capacities of counselors and social workers at One Stop Crisis Centers, Special Cells, Family Counselling Centers, Protection Officers and those working with women survivors across the life span, to help them undertake psychosocial counseling addressing issues of violence against women and girls. The training is being delivered through webinars over the course of 6 months. We invite external experts as well as experts and counselors from iCALL who facilitate the training through presentations and educational videos around counselling skills and techniques. Each session also leaves room for a question answer period at the end. We have developed a comprehensive and holistic curriculum, however, feedback from the participants regarding specific areas of concern will also be taken into consideration to tailor subsequent sessions. This will help ensure women’s organizations and first responders participate in the process so that needs and concerns are identified and included in prevention of and responses to violence against women and girls.

Webinar Thematic Areas

  1. Violence against women
  2. Immediate response mechanisms 
  3. Counselling techniques and strength based approaches for VAW
  4. Medico-legal issues
  5. Best practices and protocols
  6. Ethically sound counseling for VAW
  7. Self Care 

Previous sessions

Session 1

‘Violence Against Women During COVID-19: Holistic Assessment & Counselling Skills’ organised on 28 April 2020

Facilitated by Dr. Aparna Joshi, Project Director, iCALL and Tanuja Babre, Programme Coordinator, iCALL

Summary of the session: 

The session was conducted on 28 April 2020, by Dr Aparna Joshi and Tanuja Babre from iCALL, in collaboration with Anuja Gulati of the UNFPA. The objective of the session was to introduce and address the new dimensions of violence against women that have emerged in the context of COVID-19. It provided a brief overview of the primary, and most urgent goals of counselling in emergencies, and how interventions such as risk assessment and safety planning must be prioritised and undertaken. It also addressed certain pandemic specific needs such as the necessity of the counselor to be familiar with the workings of the disease, referral linkages that include welfare schemes relating to this period, and the ability to use technology effectively as a counselling platform as a substitute for in-person sessions. Finally, it highlighted the need for counsellors to place importance on self care. Each of these areas will be taken up in detail in subsequent sessions. 

Session 2 

‘Understanding the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act in the context of COVID-19’ organised on 11th of May 2020

Facilitated by Advocate, human rights lawyer, researcher and a national trainer Ujwala Kadrekar

Summary of the session:

The second session was conducted on the 11th of May 2020, by Dr Aparna Joshi and Tanuja Babre from iCALL, in collaboration with Anuja Gulati of the UNFPA. The training titled ‘Forming a Legal Response’ was facilitated by Advocate Ujwala Kadrekar. Ms Kadrekar is a human rights lawyer, researcher and a national trainer. She has played an imperative role in the drafting of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005. In the session, Ms. Kadrekar, took the participants through the nuances of the Act along with its key features, major components, rights and remedies under it and finally, how the Act will play out in the context of the COVID pandemic.

Session 3 

‘Forming a Legal Response’ organised on May 19, 2020

Facilitated by Advocate, human rights lawyer, researcher and a national trainer Ujwala Kadrekar

Summary of the session: 

The third session in the series was an extension of the session on PWDVA by Ujwala Kadrekar and was conducted on the 19th of May 2020. It sought to elucidate the role of the Protection Officer as a crucial bridge between the woman in need of relief/s and agencies providing such relief/s. Ms. Kadrekar carefully took the participants through the steps of recording a Domestic Incident Report (DIR) as well as other relevant forms that need to be filled when an aggrieved woman approaches a PO. Along with the technicalities, the trainer also established the importance of crucial details, informed consent as well as a supportive, patient and empowering communication mechanism.

Session 4

‘Understanding Cyber Violence against Women and Girls in the context of COVID-19: Safety Tips and Response Mechanisms’ on May 20, 2020

Facilitated by National Security Expert and a Crime Investigator, Amit Dubey

Summary of the session:  

The fourth session was conducted on the 20th of May by UNWomen in collaboration with UNFPA and WHO.  The training revolved around cyber security and violence against women and girls and was facilitated by Mr. Amit Dubey. Mr. Dubey is a renowned National Security Expert and a Crime Investigator. The training provided an overview of the issue of cyber violence against women and girls as well as the various forms this violence can take. The trainer also took the participants through the legal redressal mechanisms they can seek under the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act as well as helpines and portals dealing specifically with cyber crimes. Finally, he highlighted some tips and advice participants could use to ensure their and their clients’ safety online.

Upcoming Session Invite

Date for next session & topic + trainer

About Stakeholders

iCALL, TISS: iCALLis a field action project initiated by the School of Human Ecology, TISS, and is a national level technology assisted helpline service. iCALL provides counselling, support, information and referral to individuals in emotional and psychological distress over telephone, email, and chat. The service currently runs six days a week, from Monday to Saturday, from 10 AM to 8 PM. Apart from service provision, iCALL engages in various research, capacity building and outreach efforts independently and in partnership with State Governments and NGOs across the country. 

UNFPA: The United Nations Population fund is the UN organisation focused on sexual and reproductive health agency. One of its key areas is to prevent and respond to gender-based violence through its work with policymakers and health systems. In collaboration with other UN partners, it is working to improve survivors’ access to quality services such as legal aid, health services and social services (psychosocial counselling, helplines).

UN Women: UN Women is a United Nations organisation dedicated to the empowerment of women. It was established to accelerate progress on meeting the needs of women worldwide. It focuses on helping member states achieve global standards of gender equality by working with governments to design laws, programmes and services. One of their four strategic priorities is that “all women and girls live a life free from all forms of violence”. 

WHO: The World Health Organisation is a UN entity focused on promoting health on a global scale, protecting people from health emergencies and preventing strife by furthering well being. 

Contact Information 

Reach out to us at 9152987821 or icall@tiss.edu

 

icall-small is a psychological helpline that aims to provide high quality telephone counselling and internet based support services which will significantly improve mental health and the well being of individuals as well as the community.

EMAIL US AT

icall@tiss.edu

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icall-small is a psychological helpline that aims to provide high quality telephone counselling and internet based support services which will significantly improve mental health and the well being of individuals as well as the community.

CALL US ON

022-25521111

AVAILABLE NOW

icall-small is a psychological helpline that aims to provide high quality telephone counselling and internet based support services which will significantly improve mental health and the well being of individuals as well as the community.

CALL US ON

022-25521111

EMAIL US AT

icall@tiss.edu

  • icall-small is a psychological helpline that aims to provide high quality telephone counselling and internet based support services which will significantly improve mental health and the well being of individuals as well as the community.

    CALL US ON

    022-25521111

    EMAIL US AT

    icall@tiss.edu

  • icall-small is a psychological helpline that aims to provide high quality telephone counselling and internet based support services which will significantly improve mental health and the well being of individuals as well as the community.

    CALL US ON

    022-25521111

    AVAILABLE NOW

  • icall-small is a psychological helpline that aims to provide high quality telephone counselling and internet based support services which will significantly improve mental health and the well being of individuals as well as the community.

    EMAIL US AT

    icall@tiss.edu

  • icall-small is a psychological helpline that aims to provide high quality telephone counselling and internet based support services which will significantly improve mental health and the well being of individuals as well as the community.

    iCALL now provides chat based counseling through nULTA APP. Write us at icall@tiss.edu if you have queries regarding chat based counseling session.