Research Project

Analysis of Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence case records for Policy Advocacy

Research Area : Violence and Health

Understanding Dynamics of Sexual Violence: Study of Case Records

Violence is now widely recognized as a global public health concern. Evidence shows that violence, may take various forms such as caste/race violence, homicide, domestic/sexual violence, rape etc. and causes immediate and long term health and social consequences. In the context of sexual violence, women and children have an invariable contact with the health system. This report provides important learning and insights into the interface between the hospitals and the survivors of sexual violence. It also presents the analysis on the contentious issues such as marital rape; mandatory reporting to the police.This will be an important learning document for those who are keen on creating a comprehensive response to sexual violence. The report highlights the need to establish long term engagement between the health institutions and the survivors of sexual violence.

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Gaps in responding to “sexual violence” came into public notice subsequent to force after rape and murder of a young medical professional in New Delhi .The government of India set up an expert committee, Justice Verma Commission ( JVC)  to review the gaps in rape response in India . Subsequent to the report findings the rape law was amended to include all forms of sexual violence such as oral, anal sexual assaults as well as non penetrative sexual violence. JVC made specific recommendation to ministries of home, health, women and child and the like to develop a sensitive response to sexual violence survivors. MoHFW took the lead in establishing a protocol and medico legal guidelines for rape response and issued it to different states for implementation.

The Guidance documents for the Police, Judiciary and Public Prosecutor are situated in the context of demystifying medical evidence to them. These guidelines were developed by CEHAT with the contribution of the task force inclusive of Feminist lawyers, mental health experts, health researchers and representatives from health ministry. The documents put forth the role of all the three and the objective is to provide a scientific understanding about the medico legal care to police in the context of sexual violence.

Police: Document aims to equip them with scientific understanding of medical evidence, enabling them to frame requisitions to the health professionals regarding medico-legal examination and evidence.

Judiciary: The document aims to assist courts with the scientific understanding of medical evidence, enable them to frame questions for doctors as expert witnesses in instance of sexual violence.

Public Prosecutor: The document aims to assist public prosecutors in presenting the medical evidence in the courts, guide them to enable presenting medical professionals as expert witnesses and to prevent irrelevant and unscientific questions related to medical evidence in court proceedings.

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CEHAT has been able to establish two evidence based health service delivery models for responding to violence against women and girls.  Over the past 16 years of service provision to survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence, there is lot of secondary data available in the form of intake forms of counseling, follow up documentation, legal records, medical records etc. There are about 3000 case records of women and children facing domestic violence and 800 case records of survivors of sexual violence. This project aims at to reviewing the challenges faced specifically by young women and girls in the context of violence faced by them.

In this project the analysis of case records of such young women will be carried out to study their experiences of domestic violence and understand factors that keep them away from seeking help.  Such an analysis has a direct implication on designing interventions for young women at not just the health system but also interventions based in community and other places. Further, analysis of case records of young adolescents ranging from 15 to 18 years indulging fin consensual sexual activity will be carried out to assess the effect of POCSCO on them. 

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Sanjida Arora (Research Officer)

Prachi Avalaskar (Sr. Research Associate)

Rajeeta Chavan (Research Associate)


Supported By: American Jewish World Services (AJWS)

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