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1.     Research and Documentation Projects

 

1.1 Women and Land Rights – implemented in two phases

Phase I Duration: 9 months; October 2015 – June 2016

This ongoing research and advocacy project coupled with the component of capacity building of grassroots organizations on law and policy pertaining to women and property rights, which commenced in October 2015 completed its first phase in June 2016. This phase aimed at evolving a programmatic agenda for women and land rights in Maharashtra. The project is being carried out with the financial support of Swiss Aid India.

 

Women’s Studies Centre, partnered with the NGO – Society for Promotion of Participatory Ecosystem Management (SOPPECOM). The core team to be working on this project included Dr. Jaya Sagade and Ms. Prasanna Invally from WSC, ILS Law College; Ms. Seema Kulkarni and Ms. Sneha Bhat from SOPPECOM; and Ms. Chaaya Datar, Ms. Ritu Diwan as special invitees.

 

Activities: Following the first phase of the project that focussed on reviewing the status of women and land rights in Maharashtra through secondary data and experiences from the field, the agenda for the second phase was decided, and following activities conducted in the year 2016-17

  1. State-level consultation 5th, 6th April 2017 in Pune –

This was the culmination of phase I in which about 40 grassroots activists and legal experts participated discussed issues faced in the different regions across Maharashtra, including legal issues; experiments that have been successful; and articulated suggestions for addressing these issues. The experiences of Working Group for Women and Land Ownership (WGWLO) – a network of civil society organizations in Gujarat and the agenda of the national level network – Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch (MAKAAM), was also shared. The possibility for setting up a state level network was considered, and areas of research action and training identified, and an agenda for taking the effort forward was drawn out.

The following needs were identified and suggestions for taking the process forward were drawn out

  1. Need to file PILs, Class actions, RTIs, for which the participant organizations needed legal advice and support
  2. Following key areas were identified for legal actions:
  3. Scrapping of land fragmentation laws that are applicable in Maharashtra and Gujarat as they deter transfer of lands in the name of women
  4. Muslim personal law talks of only 1/3rd share for women. This needs to be amended and all groups who support gender justice should come together to demand such an amendment.
  5. MIDC 1961 act should be amended to include compensation given for women from the land holding families whose land has been acquired
  6. Transfer of rights to women from families eligible for transfer under the Kul kayda Act. Need for a class action to follow up on the pending tenancy cases in Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri
  7. Need for ensuring that state lands are transferred in joint names of husbands and wives. RTI and a PIL can be filed
  8. For Gairan land regularization there is a need for an overarching law and not only a GR
  9. Legal framework to protect the rights of the share croppers- can we draft something for that. The tenancy laws are stringent and hence farmers are not willing to have any record of share cropping.
  10. If 90% of lands are being cultivated by women then we should see how the law can be amended to transfer ownership to women. Need for both dialogue and struggle.
  11. Need for supporting women in implementation of law. Can we think of an amendment? Curtail release deed processes etc
  • Legwork for the legal actions to be undertaken, were drawn out as follows:
  1. Need for documentation of share croppers in the state. There is a concept note on land lease prepared by the Niti Ayog. This needs to be studied and commented upon.
  2. Need to organize training and legal awareness workshops. Despite the laws and the GR state land is often given in the name of men. If concerned organisations who are aware of such cases can compile them. Law College and SOPPECOM can take on the responsibility of filing a PIL
  3. Share all government GRs with the entire group.

 

  1. Commencement of Phase II – December 2016 to January 2018

Phase II of duration 13 months has been designed on the basis of the needs that emerged and recommendations of civil society organizations working on women and land rights. It commenced from December 2016 and is in its preparatory stage. Some of the activities planned are as follows:

  1. A three day state Level workshop on perspective building and legal awareness on women and land rights in order to create awareness amongst the lead karyakartas and the organizational leadership to take the issue forward
  2. Three day legal awareness of staff of HMF, Manavlok and MASUM and a few other interested organisations from Marathwada who had shown interest in the regional meetings of phase I
  • Four one day workshops on Perspective building and legal training of local government officials in the Martahwada region of Maharashtra.
  1. Conduct a participatory research in order to create a data base on the extent of claims made by women for private and public property, to understand the extent of release deeds in the field area specifically in the case of Hindu and Muslim personal laws, and create the training material for the staff of the participating NGOs

1.2 Developing User Manuals for various cadres of personnel appointed under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. (PWDVA)

Project duration: November 2016 to January 2018 (15 months)

The need for user manuals arose out the various training sessions on the Act that the Women’s Studies Centre had conducted in the past with judicial officers, protection officers, police, lawyers, medical professionals and counsellors. As separate section on ‘Gender and Domestic Violence’ is proposed to be part of each of these manuals that will help developing a gender-sensitive perspective on which the PWDVA is based. This project proposes to develop six user manuals for each of the above mentioned personnel in English and Marathi. This project is supported by SwissAid India.

 

WSC has collaborated with NGOs that have expertise in the field to author some of these manuals viz:  Swayam (Gender and Domestic Violence), CEHAT (medical professionals), TISS (Police) and Sahyog (lawyers). WSC would be authoring the manuals for judges, protection officers and counsellors. A meeting with the authors was held on 17th Jan 2017, during which the broad design and content was decided.

 

The first state-level consultation with representatives of these stakeholders and NGO representatives for discussing the content of the manuals is scheduled on 8th April 2017. WSC is seeking collaboration of the department of Women and Child Development in the process of manuals preparation.

 

2.     Conducting courses / training projects

 

2.1. “Enhancing quality of counselling services for domestic violence survivors” – phase II

Duration: May 2016 to October 2018

This training project is being implemented in two phases. The year-long first phase which began in June 2015 concluded in May 2016. The second phase of 18 months duration began in May 2016 and is due to conclude in October 2018. 18 counsellors from 9 NGOs from the regions of Marathwada, Ratnagiri, and Pune district have been undergoing the training. SwissAid India has financially supported both the phases of this training project. The core training team includes – Dr. Shirsha Sathe (psychologist), Dr. Kaustubh Joag (psychiatrist), Dr. Jaya Sagade (law professor) and Prasanna Invally (social worker) and continue for phase II of the project

 

The training project uses the methodology of contact training through workshops; field training through visits, tele and skype conferencing, and discussions on audio-recorded counselling, and homework assignments. It also proposes preparation of manuals on six themes that would aid trainees in understanding theory and apply it better.

Collectively, the trainers and the trainees chalked out the broad design for the next phase through an evaluation workshop held on 29th – 30th April 2017.

The second phase commits to make the training application based for improving quality and bringing professionality to the practice of counselling. The following were the activities conducted under Phase II of the project in the year 2016-17.

Activities undertaken in the phase II of the project:

 

  1. Preparation of manuals in English and Marathi –

Six manuals on the following themes are under preparation –

Domestic Violence and its Dynamics

Mental Health

Counselling Practice

Group Counselling and group work

DV and law

Record keeping

 

2. Workshops

Workshops on the following themes were conducted

a. Fine tuning of learning from 1st phase, relationship issues and record keeping – 21st to 23rd September 2016

17counsellors participated in this workshop

  • The first day focused on presentation by each trainee and feedback from the training team and a re-presentation the next day, thus bringing clarity in defining the problem for counselling vis-à-vis the presenting complaint, prioritizing the problem areas, and bringing the person-centric focus in the change process, and in highlighting the counsellor’s skill of moving from the ‘known’ (reality of violence) to the unknown (attitudes, beliefs, values etc.)
  • The second day focused on basics of relationship counselling. Elements in a relationship – intimacy, power, power bases, forms of power, misuse of power, power processes and how it operates in a relationship, power outcomes, areas of symptom formation, role of intervention and counselling (where, when, how) and its outcomes, were discussed.
  • The third day was a fine-tuning on understanding mental health. Depression, suicide and tips on handling suicidal women, suspicion as nature and suspicion as illness, addiction, sexuality and sexual orientation, were some of the topics undertaken on demand.

 

b. Counselling techniques & tools, and DV & law – 3rd to 5th Jan 2017

12 counsellors attended the workshop.

  • The first day began with a feedback on their learnings viz:  counsellors should be resourceful, the steps in the change process and that the ultimate aim should be that the DV survivor becomes a change agent, preparing the problem statements, clarity that counselling focusses on change within the woman, how to prioritize problems for counselling, greater precision in thinking, confidence in speaking to the perpetrator.
  • This was followed by two sessions on Domestic Violence and Law, in which trainer Dr. Jaya Sagade stressed on perceiving law as a tool that for regulating behavior of persons so that humans are treated as human beings with dignity. Prasanna Invally explained ways of keeping/ finding evidence of DV, and certain tips on when and how to inform the woman about legal rights under the DV Act.
  • The day ended with the demonstration session in which two theatre players performed set of three counselling session and Dr. Shrisha Sathe counselled them. Steps in counselling, counseling principles used, acceptance of perpetrator, body language, counsellors assertion in communicating that violence is not permitted, and about role of counsellor as facilitator in the couple’s joint session, were some of the key points that emerged in the discussion that followed.
  • The second day focused on how to do counselling. The trainees performed role plays of cases that they were handling, followed by discussions. Three cases were discussed in depth, and this process helped in providing tips to the respective counsellor on how to move further with the case. While discussing the cases, the following sections of the manual on counselling techniques was referred to – stress management, responding to aggressive behaviours, depression and suicide, positive self-talk, decision making assertion and assertive communication, emotions and dealing with grief.
  • The third day was a half-day session that aimed at addressing questions that trainees had in mind. Some of the tools and techniques that formed part of their learning included – use of role-play in counselling, not to use real life examples but use stories, help her express emotions, start from where the counselee is, address the here and now, empathize and express empathy, express concern through body language, give attention, help counselee differentiate between reality and feeling about the reality, techniques in dealing with aggression of the other. That the counsellor needs to give time and space for self-reflection after each session so that s/he comes out of the session is important, so as to enable her/him to concentrate on other work,  concentrate on values that s/he needs to build and it can be built through practice, was also discussed.

 

4. Field supervision:

A field supervisor has been appointed to visit the trainees of the various NGOs periodically, seek feedback, facilitate handhold support, collect relevant documents etc., and facilitate communication between the trainees and the trainers.

 

5. Supervised counselling:

The process of supervised counselling began with trainees sharing cases through case record formats. The thrust is currently on writing this record accurately and using it as in counselling. Out of 17 trainees, 12 have shared this information and ongoing supervision of five trainees is in progress. Supervision is done over telephone and/or skype.

 

6. Field visit:

Field visit to three organizations in Ratnagiri was done in October 2016 and in Pune district (MASUM) was done in November 2016. The trainer Ms. Prasanna Invally helped trainees get started with supervised counselling and provided guidance in writing records of cases in the given format and discussed options in proceeding with difficult cases. 

 

2.2 Basics of counselling – 3-day workshop for a team of activists working in NGOs in Chhattisgarh

Duration – 20th – 22nd Nov 2016

This workshop was conducted on request from SwissAid for its NGO partners working on the issue of domestic violence in the state of Chhattisgarh. 22 trainees participated in this workshop. The training team consisted of Dr. Shirisha Sathe (psychologist), Dr. Jaya Sagade (law professor) and Ms. Prasanna Invally (social worker). It covered the following topics – a. Perception of violence – personally and professionally b. Response to violence – personally and professionally c. Psycho-social understanding of violence d. Intra-personal and interpersonal dynamics of DV e. The various ways of helping/ the helping processes f. Basics of counselling g. Process of counselling h. Stress and stress management (conflict- related and situation related) h. Working with the survivor i. law of domestic violence (clarifications on certain provisions) and j. record keeping.

 

3.     Providing consultancy/ advice/ support

 

  • Campaign against Female Genital Mutilation

Public meeting on awareness and eradication of this gruesome practice

Date: 23rd April, 2016

WSC of ILS Law College, joined the campaign and the public meeting. University Women’s Association, Pune; Poona Women’s Council; Family Planning Association of India; and Pune Women’s Forum were part of this campaign. WSC provided the legal expertise for the campaign.

Ms. Prasanna Invally who represented WSC for the event, assisted in drafting the campaign’s resolution on ending the practice of female genital mutilation, which was submitted to the guest of honour – Smt. Partibha Patil (ex-President of India) for further action.

 

  • Workshop on People Centred Advocacy

Date: 13th to 15th Oct 2016

A training workshop was organized for partners of SwissAid on how to undertake advocacy on issues related to domestic violence especially for better implementation of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. WSC provided the necessary advice and inputs for planning and designing the contents of the workshop to National Centre for Advocacy Studies.

The topics covered included –  What is Advocacy, Forms of Advocacy, Understanding Power, Arenas of Advocacy, Defining Advocacy, Role of Information, Organising-Mobilising, Networking and Alliance Building, Role of Media, Strategic Advocacy Campaign Planning, Preparing Strategic Advocacy Plans.

 

  • Capacity building Workshop about MTP Act, PCPNDT Act and POCSO Act within the context of access to safe abortion services

Date: 27, 28  February 2017

CREA, CommonHealth and Samyak had organised the said workshop, in which about 25 grassroots activists from rural Maharashtra working on women’s rights and health issues, participated. Dr. Jaya Sagade and Ms. Prasanna Invally provided inputs on the three laws – namely – MTP Act and the proposed amendments, the PCPNDT Act and its interlinkages with MTP Act, and the POCSO Act with special reference to difficulties and dilemmas faced by the activists in dealing with cases under POCSO Act. At the end of the workshop, as a first step, the campaigners decided that the information on district level committees in various districts whose primary role under the MTP Act was registration of MTP Centres, should be sought through an RTI application.

 

4.     Organizing and participating in Seminars and Conferences

 

  • Seminar on the Protection Of Children From Sexual Offences Act 2012

Held on 11th June 2016

Women’s Studies Centre organised this seminar in which various experts working on child rights and child abuse issues were invited. It included judges, psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians, child specialists, NGO representatives, networks and forums against child abuse (FACSE), police personnel, child welfare committee members, lawyers, public prosecutors and personnel from the department of women and child development of Maharashtra. Dr. Ashok Kumar, Advisor, NCPCR (National Commission for Protection of Child Rights), was also invited.

The purpose of the Seminar was to dwell upon best practices in the four year old law implementation and elaborate upon the desired changes in the law.

 

The Seminar had four panels and following were the deliberations in brief:

 

Welcome, introduction and Keynote address

Dr. Jaya Sagade welcomed the participants and introduced the purpose of the workshop. Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi provided the key note address and issues raised included age of child under the different Acts – The Juvenile Justice Act (JJ Act), Indian Penal Code ( IPC), Prevention of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) and POCSO; need for addressing adolescent sexual activity; difficulties in recording of the child’s evidence in courts, such as limitations of vocabulary of the child, sex being a taboo subject, protection of child from facing the abuser etc.; support to the child, ignorance and denial of existence child sexual abuse.

 

Panel 1 – The POCSO Act – from perspectives from the Judiciary, Lawyers, National Centre for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and the Police.

Panelists included Smt. Prachi Kulkarni, District Judge- 1 & Additional Sessions Judge, Osmanabad; Smt. Suvarna K. Keole, District Judge- 1 & Additional Sessions Judge, Ahmednagar; Smt. Anju Shende, Judge, City Civil Court, Mumbai; Shri K.G Chaudhari, 12th Jt. CJJD & JMFC, Nashik; Smt.Vandana Tendulkar, President, Goa Children’s Court, Panaji; Dr. Flavia Agnes, Advocate; Dr. Ashok Kumar, Advisor, NCPCR.

Panel 2: Health and Child Sexual Abuse

This panel comprised of Dr. Bhooshan Shukla, Child Psychiatrist; Dr. Meenakshi Deshpande, Gynecologist; Smt. Aarthi  Chandrashekhar, Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes (CEHAT) . Dr. Bhooshan Shukla made specific suggestions relating to mental health service providers and CSA. Dr. Meenakshi supported with observations about the difficulties faced by medical fraternity. Smt. Aarti Chandreshekhar from CEHAT shared the work that the NGO has undertaken in this area.

Panel 3: Disabilities and child sexual abuse

Panelists included Smt.Smriti Dhingra, Point of View; Dr. Radhika Rawat, MUSKAAN. They shared their experiences and spoke of the special needs of disabled children and the need for preventive care.

Panel 4: Prevention and Rehabilitation

In this panel Dr. Anuradha Sahasrabudhe from Childline and Smt. Shubhada representing the MUSKAAN network shared their experiences. Smt. Lakshmi from Orchid School shared the experience of being the first school to file a case under POCSO and how there were both difficulties and a great deal of support and sensitivity displayed by legal authorities. Shri. Sharad Kurhade shared information on the work on the DWCD on CSA issues and provided suggestions for preventive measures. Smt. Yashashree spoke of the need for sexuality education for children, parents and teachers and the great resistance from the schools towards the same. Dr. Albertina shared experiences from the implementation of the Goa Children’s Act and the issues that need to be looked into while ensuring an accountable legal framework.

Recommendations Each panel presentation was followed by discussions on ways for effective implementation of POCSOA and preventing child sexual abuse. Recommendations arising out of the seminar were at two levels – a. Amendments in laws  b. Amendments in POCSO Rules and c. For effective implementation of POCSO Act.

Amendments in laws were recommended for resolving the following issues

  1. The age issue under the four legislations – Indian Penal Code (IPC), Protection Of Children From Sexual Offences Act (POCSOA), Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) and Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTPA)  to be resolved along with the issue of runaway marriages and how they are to be dealt under these Acts.
  2. Inherent powers of the Court for ensuring ‘best interest of the child’.
  3. Gradation of Punishment for Repetitive offences:
  4. Access to Justice; Preventive measures including creating awareness
  5. Evidence of the child survivor
  6. Need for an inter-disciplinary team and Specialized counselors provided to disabled children
  7. Capacity building and sensitization of concerned stakeholders.

Amendments in POCSO Rules were recommended for resolving the following issues

  1. Strengthening of Monitoring Mechanisms and collaborations
  2. Compensation should be made available under the POCSO rules for children who come under the ITPA Act.
  3. Strengthening of Support System
  4. Ensuring rights of the child in terms of respecting the choice of the child survivor to stay with person whom she trusts after due consideration by the CWC of his/her safety and security

Recommendations for effective implementation of the POCSO Act and the Support Systems for the victim/survivor included the following

  1. Special courts should exclusively be dedicated to hearing of CSA cases.
  2. Appropriate budget should be allocated by the government for infrastructure and implementation of the Act.
  3. A booklet/s should be produced by the Women’s Studies Center ILS Law college in collaboration with the NGO’s and government agencies, that specifies the rights of the child relating to police, evidence, courts, shelter, support systems, referrals, medical evidence
  4. Monitoring mechanism should be put into place for the compensation schemes.
  5. Increase in the number of Institutions for specialized counselling, shelter, security (long term), education, rehabilitation both for the child and those who support the child is necessary. Specialized counselling in case of children with disability should be provided.
  6. The Act and the Rules therein should be implemented effectively, efficiently and sensitively particularly with reference to the Sections and Rules mentioned below in section D.

Opinions for and against the provision for mandatory reporting under POCSO Act were raised. Although this concern is very critical, the group did not reach any consensus .

 

WSC participated in the following conferences:

  • Roundtable on Coordinated Community Response to Gender Based Violence.

Held on 11 July 2016 at Mumbai

It was organized by Direct Action for Women Now (DAWN) Worldwide, US co-founded by Geeta Aiyer – working to end gender-based violence and advance gender equality through education and collaboration, in collaboration with Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA). The participants considered the possibility of using the model of coordinated community response in the Indian context for achieving the aim of ending gender-based violence

  • International Women’s Action on Nonviolence

Held on 2nd to 4th Oct 2017 at Jalgaon, Maharashtra

International Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence and Peace, Madurai, Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon Ekta Europe Ekta Parishad, India had organized the event. It was part of a 13-day long campaign across India for promoting peace and nonviolence. Human rights as the basis for peace and non-violence were the call of the campaign. Experiments for peace across the globe, especially across conflict ridden borders of countries were presented by international guests, and enlightened the audience about the strength of women in peace-making efforts.