RCI-VAW: Resource Centre for Interventions on Violence against Women

Locations: Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

Sponsor: Multiple Funders

Purpose: The RCI-VAW was started in the year 2008 under the Centre for Equity for Women, Children and Families, School of Social Work. The experience of engaging with survivors of violence, through Special Cell for Women and Children led the faculty of the Institute to realize the need for Centre which would steadily engage with the issue of Violence against Women. The RCI-VAW nurtures effective interventions with different stakeholders through training and research to enable deeper understanding of the issue and interventions to stop Violence against Women.

The purpose of the project can be layed out as follows:

  • To engage in a consistent and sustainable manner with the issues of VAW, as well as with various State and non-governmental stakeholders of all persuasions on issues of & towards more effective response to VAW, through the practice of programmatic demonstration, capacity-building, and research/documentation-based advocacy.
  • To do all of the above keeping the Special Cell praxis-knowledge and feminist social work principles at the core/as basis of all planning, review, implementation & monitoring activities.
  • To design and demonstrate effective VAW interventions models with different stakeholders and to build the latter's capacities through training, handholding, review/evaluation & monitoring, etc. as part of the process
  • To carry out advocacy on women's rights issues through work with other organisations, institutions and networks (governmental & civil society) across the country, as well as through experiential/action research.

Objectives:

  • To coordinate, handhold, and strengthen the existing work of Special Cells model in Maharashtra in particular, as well as in other States, through a continued formal engagement of collaborative work & advocacy with State Governments, especially the Police and Protection system;
  • To promote the strategies of the Special Cells model through replication & expansion of the same, as well as through the piloting and eventual facilitated institutionalisation of this and other models of VAW intervention & effective multi-agency coordinated response, with a focus on engaging Police support;
  • In course of the above, to explore and innovate newer strategies to respond to VAW, and to build the capacities (both skills & perspective) of stakeholders at various levels (State structure/mechanisms & their personnel, civil society organisations & their personnel, academic institutions & their members, communities & their component groups etc.);
  • To initiate & sustain research, documentation and larger educational activities (awareness, campaigns, training etc.) on VAW issues as well as interventions.

Programmes within the RCI-VAW:

The Special Cell for Women and Children has been one of the major projects under the RCI-VAW and has been a strong reason for the establishment of the RCI-VAW. The Special Cell was set up in the year 1984 in the Office of the Police Commissioner, Mumbai to work with the survivors of violence while being a part of the Criminal Justice System, by locating itself in the police stations. Since 2011, the Special Cell has been a part of the Departments of Home and Women and Child Development of the state of Maharashtra and has been expanded to various districts within the state of Maharashtra. As of 2012, there are 39 Special Cells located across the State of Maharashtra.

The RCI-VAW while looking into the organizational development of the Special Cell is also in process of conducting researches on the strategies and intervention of the Special Cells in Maharashtra. The Special Cell for Women and Children has also scaled up to other states such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh after the recognition of the work done in Maharashtra. The RCI-VAW houses experts who have and are a part of the Special Cells in Maharashtra, which helps in institutionalizing the Special Cell in various States. The Resource Centre then becomes a part of the training of the new workers, the development of context specific strategies as well as evaluating and documenting the work of the new Cells.

The RCI-VAW has also and collaborated with DoWCD, GRC & GVK EMRI in the design, launch and capacity-building of personnel of Emergency Response Service-based Helpline (181) for Women in Distress across the State of Gujarat (and initiated publication of protocols & algorithms as manual document).

Due to its relationship with various States, RCI- VAW also gets invited to research on various issues. The study on child marriage in the State of Haryana is one such research which is under way. It seeks to understand the implementation of the prohibition of child marriage act 2005 within the State of Haryana. The Government of India has funded a research on the Implementation of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 which is a study which is being conducted in four states of India, namely- Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Maharashtra.