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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


Mumbai

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 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 5, 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.

Individual


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.

Community


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.

Institutions


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 Bill, 2012.

Reach


24,420

Survivors of violence counselled for psycho-social support and advanced mental health counselling (2016 - 2021)

4765

Mumbai Police personnel trained to respond to survivors of violence

10,200

Municipal hospital staff trained to provide support to survivors of violence
(2016 - 2022)

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

Supporting the mental health of survivors of domestic violence against women with dignity and pride
A guide for counselors


Based on years of collective experience and the best available evidence, the team at SNEHA has worked with Indian, regional and international partners to put together an online immersive guide for counsellors and mental health professionals.

Go to Garima

Impact



86%

Survivors of violence accessing counselling
services reported reduction in
violence and distress levels
(2021-2022)

91%

Survivors of violence who went through pre and
post mental health assessment showed
reduction in depression levels
(2021-2022)

93%

Survivors of violence who went through pre and post assessment
for anxiety disorder showed a
reduction in anxiety levels
(2021-2022)

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.

At the age of 16, Sarita* eloped and got married.  A year later she had a son. Initially things seemed fine but she soon realised her husband was suspicious and controlling. He started physically, psychologically and economically abusing her.

Sarita approached the centre for assistance in filing an NC (non-cognizable offence) and requested for a joint counselling session with her and her husband. She was 23 years old at the time. The counsellor recognised that she had major depressive disorder and mental health issues and immediately referred to our psychologist. She often spoke of ending her life as she could not live without her husband.

After sometime her husband moved them to a different locality where she had very little support. He stopped giving her any money. With the help of our staff and the psychologist, Sarita started her treatment at Sion hospital. She is now more stable and lives in a shelter. She is earning money for the first time in her life. Her child is now going to school. She is also much happier and feels empowered enough to file for maintenance from her husband.

Sarita can now proudly say she can survive on her own.

*Name changed

Evaluating our impact:
TARA (Take Action Reach All) Trial


TARA Trial is a parallel group, phased randomised trial with 48 urban informal settlement clusters of 500 households. We are testing the effects of community mobilization through groups and volunteers to prevent violence against women and girls.

The trial has finished the baseline survey and the intervention has been rolled out in all intervention clusters in four phases at Wadala and Kurla.

Read more about the trial

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.


We worked with the non-profit organisation, Ekjut, to adapt our gender-based violence prevention model to rural and urban Jharkhand (2015-2017). This project covered 22 villages, and the city of Ranchi. Together with Ekjut, we researched and developed new methods for the identification of and response to violence in these 23 locations. These included working with women’s groups, government health systems, and law and order systems.

Partners


Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives

The Wellcome Trust

National Institute for Health Research

Global Fund for Women

Karmatex Apparels Pvt. Ltd

Matrix Entertainment

Agiliad Technologies

ATE Chandra Foundation

Motivation For Excellence

Loreal Fund For Women