Research Project

Implementing a Comprehensive Healthcare Response to Sexual Violence

Research Area : Violence and Health

Since 2008, CEHAT has been implementing a comprehensive model response to sexual assault at three public hospitals in Mumbai - Rajawadi Hospital, Oshiwara Maternity Home and Bandra Bhabha Hospital. The model is based on the guidelines laid down by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is the first of its kind to be established in the country. A gender sensitive proforma for medical examination has been implemented, that lays emphasis on a detailed documentation of history and recording of only relevant examination findings. The proforma is gender sensitive in that it does NOT record any findings related to built of the survivor, past sexual history (such as size of the vaginal introitus or the two-finger test) or irrelevant findings related to the hymen. Routine sensitization and capacity building of health professionals on the issue of sexual violence is being carried out. A manual too has been developed which provides step by step instructions to the examining doctor so that he/she may be able to conduct the examination in a scientific and sensitive manner. An important feature of this model is that it lays emphasis on provision of treatment and psychosocial care to survivors of sexual assault, at the level of the hospital itself. Every survivor who reports to the hospitals is provided comprehensive medical care including testing and prophylaxis for sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV), treatment for injuries, pregnancy prophylaxis. Psychosocial support too is being provided to every survivor, including any help that she/he may require in lodging police complaints, legal help etc.

As of now, this model is being implemented at three municipal hospitals in Mumbai and efforts are being made in Delhi to implement the same as well. CEHAT has also intervened in an on-going public interest litigation in the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court; specific demands of our intervention petition are demanding gender sensitive protocols and provision of treatment to survivors of sexual assault. Recently, the Ministry of Health at the Center, under the leadership of its Secretary has appointed a committee to look into developing protocols and guidelines for sexual assault examination and treatment. CEHAT is a part of this committee and is engaging with the ministry to ensure that the protocols are gender sensitive and focus is on providing treatment and psychosocial support to survivors of sexual assault.



SujataAyarkar (Senior Research Associate)

Anupriya Singh (Research Associate)

Rajeeta Chavan (Research Associate)

Sarika Salunkhe (Research Associate)

Supported by: Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives (APPI)