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49 Effectiveness of counselling to improve psychological well-being of the survivors of gender based violence: a clinic based study 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


Statement of purpose The Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka (FPASL) is a leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) facility that also has a counselling centre. FPASL is screening the clients for GBV and refer identified survivors to counsellors. We evaluated the effectiveness of counselling to improve the psychological wellbeing of those referred GBV survivors.

Methods We conducted this study between 01 January and 31 March 2013. During that period, FPASL identified 81 GBV survivors. Of them, 36 met family counsellors, and 29 presented for at least one follow-up counselling session. We compared the psychological wellbeing of those 29 at the baseline and at two months follow-up, using three Likert scales: happiness scale (range: 1 = very sad to 7 = very happy), perceived stress scale (range: 1 = no stress at all to 7 = much stressed), self-esteem scale (range: 1 = very low to 7 = very high). We also randomly interviewed 6 clients (20%) to confirm these results using qualitative Methods.

Results Of the 29 GBV survivors who met counsellors, 51% reported physical violence, 3% reported sexual violence and all reported psychological violence. The survivors’ perceived happiness was significantly higher after the counselling (Median (Mdn) = 5.0) than before counselling (Mdn = 2.0), z = −4.7, p < 0.001. The perceived selfesteem was also significantly higher after counselling (Mdn = 5.0) than before counselling (Mdn = 2.0), z = −4.7, p < 0.001. After counselling, clients felt safer than they were before (Mdn = 7 before and after, z = −2.82, p < 0.001), and felt less stressed (Mdn = 6.0 vs 2.0, z = −4. 8, p < 0.001).

Conclusions The counselling might effectively improve the short-term psychological well-being among GBV survivors. However, to draw better conclusions, future studies should examine the long-term psychological effects of counselling for GBV survivors as well.

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