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15 Feasibility of gender based violence screening and counselling in a sexual and reproductive health facility in Sri Lanka
  1. Achini Jayatilleke,
  2. Sumithra Tissera,
  3. Asanka Pathirathne,
  4. Badra Udawatta,
  5. Prasanna Jayathilaka,
  6. Lakshmen Senanayake
  1. The Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka

Abstract

Statement of purpose One in three Sri Lankan women experience GBV, but rarely disclose it. Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) facilities might be a venue to screen on GBV and provide the necessary assistance to survivors. We conducted this study to evaluate the feasibility of GBV screening at a SRH facility in Sri Lanka and assess the current client’s GBV status.

Methods The Family Planning Association (FPA) is a leading SRH facility in Sri Lanka that also has a counselling centre (Alokaya). Around 30 clients visit FPA’s SRH clinic daily (Centre for Family Health (CFH)). From 01.01.2013 onwards, we commenced asking about GBV from the clients attending CFH and referred the identified survivors to Alokaya. We analysed the GBV statistics during 01.01.2013–31.03.2013 using SPSS software.

Results In total, 1710 clients visited CFH during the study period. We asked from 257 (15%) on GBV; we could not ask about GBV when client density was high, number of medical officers was less, and clients were rushed for time. Of those asked (n = 257), 81(31.5%) disclosed GBV. All who disclosed GBV were refered to Alokaya using referral slips. Of them, 36 (44.5%) met a counsellor and 29(36%) presented for at least one follow-up counselling session. At counsellors, 49% reported physical violence and 3% reported sexual violence; all (n = 36) reported they faced psychological violence with or without other types of GBV. In 86% of the time, the abuser was the husband or the boyfriend. Importantly, 51% reported escalated violence during the last year.

Conclusions GBV screenings at SRH facilities have the potential to identify GBV survivors, and refer them to counsellors. Because GBV survivors do not always meet counsellors, for a GBV screening to be successful in an SRH facility, the SRH service providers need to be trained on GBV counselling as well.

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