Domestic Violence Response Programme

Family Counselling Centre

The Socio-Educational Welfare Association operates a Family Counselling Center, which was established in March 2007 with the support of the Central Social Welfare Board, to address the harm caused to humans by domestic violence and abuse. To date, the centre has registered 2,300 cases and provided counselling services.

The concept of family counselling was developed by the Central Social Welfare Board in the country in the 1980s when there was a spate of dowry-related murders. The Board spearheaded the campaign against this crime and started the programme of “Voluntary Action Bureaus” (VAB), which subsequently took the shape of the Family Counselling Centre (FCC). The objectives of the Family Counselling Centre are to provide preventive and rehabilitation services to women and families that are victims of atrocities and family maladjustment. Family counselling has served a vital function in mending family relations through crisis intervention and systematic counselling.

Family counselling is a type of psychotherapy. It may have various objectives. Family counselling aids in the improvement of a family’s relationships and understanding. Alternatively, family counselling may address the needs of the family when one family member suffers from a mental or physical illness that negatively affects his or her behaviour.If any member of a family is associated with heavy alcohol consumption, drug addiction, or any other factor, this may lead to domestic violence and might actually be the reason why other family members seek out family counselling. This therapist frequently assists the family in reflecting on better ways to communicate and encourage one another. While family counselling may not take a long time to complete and may be beneficial after four or five sessions, sometimes families may require more help and might require 20–30 sessions to resolve significant or ongoing family issues. Through family counseling one does not get instant results.

SEWA established the Family Counselling Center in 2007. The center provides counselling, referral, and rehabilitative services to the women and children who are victims of atrocities, family maladjustments, and social ostracism, and also provides crisis intervention. Women have been the largest group of victims of domestic violence since time immemorial, and violence against women continues even in the 21st century. Women from every social background, irrespective of their age, religion, caste, or class, fall victim to domestic violence. However, domestic violence is not just limited to women; men, children, and elderly people can also be victims of it. Domestic violence occurs at all levels of society and in all population groups.  SEWA aims to create awareness and mobilise public opinion on social issues affecting the status of women. The FCC works closely with the local administration, police, courts, free legal aid cells, medical and psychiatric institutions, vocational training centres, short stay homes, and other organisations.

Service Provider under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005

A service provider has the authority to record any incident of domestic violence and forward it to the Magistrate or Protection Officer having jurisdiction where the incident of domestic violence took place.

Under the Act, SEWA is authorised to deliver the following services to a aggrieved person –

1) A service provider registered under sub-section (1) shall have the power to–

(a) record the domestic incident report in the prescribed form if the aggrieved person so desires and forward a copy thereof to the Magistrate and the Protection Officer having jurisdiction in the area where the domestic violence took place;

(b) get the aggrieved person medically examined and forward a copy of the medical report to the Protection Officer and the police station within the local limits of where the domestic violence took place;

(c) ensure that the aggrieved person is provided shelter in a shelter home, if she so requires, and forward a report of the aggrieved person’s lodging in the shelter home to the police station within the local limits of where the domestic violence took place.

2) No suit, prosecution, or other legal proceeding shall lie against any service provider or any member of the service provider who is, or who is deemed to be, acting or purporting to act under this Act, for anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done in the exercise of powers or discharge of functions under this Act towards the prevention of the commission of domestic violence.