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Prevention of Violence against Women & Children

Working with communities and public systems to prevent and address violence against women and children


The Problem

Violence against women and girls affects 1 in 3 women globally. Women living in informal urban settlements are particularly vulnerable to violence.

of ever-married women in India have reported partner violence

of women who have reported violence in India sought institutional help

of never-married women in India have reported partner violence

Women and girls face physical, sexual and emotional violence in both private and public spaces. But violence is often considered a taboo topic and is rarely spoken about or reported. Public systems, such as health providers and the police, tend to be the first point of help, but are not always equipped to deal with cases of gender-based violence.

Sources: National Health Family Survey 4, World Health Organization 2017

How can we equip communities and public systems to effectively prevent and address gender-based violence?

Our Work

Our programme aims to prevent and address violence at four levels of society. Our approach embodies gender-transformative change, rights and women-centred intervention.


We assist individuals on a case-by-case basis through our five Mumbai crisis centres and four public hospital women’s outpatient departments. These centres provide immediate and long-term counselling for survivors of violence and facilitate access to medical, legal and police services.


We work to empower communities to support individuals in cases of violence. Our community-based women volunteers monitor the safety of women and children in their area, provide emotional support and connect women to crisis intervention services.


We train and sensitize police, staff of municipal hospitals and legal aid lawyers to deal more effectively with cases of violence.

Public Policy

We advocate for public policies that can enhance institutional response to domestic violence. This includes effective implementation of the Protection for Women against Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and Protection of Children against Sexual Offences, 2012.



women reached through counselling services (2014-17)


police trained to respond to survivors of violence (2014-17)


municipal hospital staff trained to provide support to survivors of violence (2014-17)


women reached through campaigns, meetings, trainings (2014-17)

Using technology to report incidents of domestic violence:
The Little Sister app

The ‘Little Sister’ project trains sanginis (community women volunteers) to identify and report gender-based violence using an Android application. Once an alert is raised and the sangini provides initial help, information on the incident is entered in the app and uploaded to the Little Sister server. If there is a high risk of violence or suicide, we intervene immediately to provide services as required.

Learn more about the App



of women accessing counselling services reported reduction in distress levels (2015-2017)


of survivors with mental health conditions show greater capacity to cope with problems (2015-2017)


of all domestic violence cases were identified and referred by community members (2015-2017)


of women accessing counselling and crisis support show a change in empowerment indicators (2015-17)

Notes from the Field:
Overcoming Trauma

We have learned that survivors of violence in urban informal settlements require multi-layered support. We strive to improve their agency and wellbeing by providing a wide range of timely and pertinent services. Our regular follow-ups ensure that they are able to live lives free from violence.

Reema’s* partner had physically and sexually assaulted her and subjected her to emotional trauma. Reema first approached SNEHA’s counseling centre through the crisis helpline.

After a few counseling sessions and emotional support from SNEHA, Reema filed a First Information Report at the police station, overcoming intimidation and bureaucratic hurdles. SNEHA helped Reema navigate these challenging and time-consuming police proceedings, eventually leading to her partner’s arrest.

Reema was simultaneously assisted with medical care and SNEHA’s weekly support group therapy sessions provided routine emotional support. She attended therapy sessions with SNEHA’s clinical psychologist for her post-traumatic stress disorder and also visited a psychiatrist for expert medical care. Reema has been regaining her confidence slowly.

Her resilience combined with comprehensive support has enabled a remarkable improvement in Reema.

*Name changed

Evaluating our impact:
How effective is community mobilisation in preventing domestic violence?

With funding from the Wellcome Trust, we are conducting a large cluster randomised controlled trial that will test the effectiveness of community mobilisation in preventing violence against women and girls. The results of the trial will help us develop a replicable, community-led model that can identify and address violence.


Scaling Our Model

Our partnerships help us scale our models and exchange best practices with other organizations in violence prevention.

Learn more about how we work.

Since 2015, we have been working with the non-profit organisation, Ekjut, to adapt our gender-based violence prevention model to rural and urban Jharkhand. This project covers 22 villages, and the city of Ranchi. Together with Ekjut, we have researched and developed new methods for the identification of and response to violence in these 23 locations. These include working with women’s groups, government health systems, and law and order systems.


Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives

The Manan Trust


The Wellcome Trust

Global Fund for Women