National Consultation on Public Health Response to Gender Based Violence

Sama organized a two day national consultation in November 2012 in Delhi to- Strengthen perspective and action vis-à-vis violence as a public health issue and role of health professionals (with specific focus on domestic violence and sexual assault); and Examine experiences and challenges emerging from existing initiatives, strategies, policy-legislations; to prepare recommendations for the future directions – policy and practice – of a gender sensitive, rights-based and comprehensive public health response.

The consultation brought together about 40 participants from around 18 women’s and health organizations, human rights groups, legal organizations, medical professionals, and other key stakeholders to deliberate on current practices in different states / regions of the country and discuss future directions. The national consultation included a keynote address, four panels and a way forward session. The national consultation enabled exchange of information, experiences and drew attention to different initiatives in the country that were ongoing to strengthen health care response for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. These were placed at different levels of institutions – included primary, tertiary, providing insights into what has worked and challenges faced.

The national consultation attempted to identify specific areas and action plans in the short as well as long term, including providing inputs into the CEDAW Shadow report, and medical curriculum. The need to compile and exchange existing information and resources – for example, data from research, protocols, reports to enable wider mobilization, strengthening perspectives and facilitating collective inputs – for example, in development of uniform protocols/guidelines for examination and evidence of sexual assault, screening for domestic violence in health institutions, was emphasized.

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