Violence Against Women, Training Manual

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When the Gender Centre conceptualized its Nyinkyim Anti-violence Project, it recognized the need to put together a comprehensive training programme for its partners to ensure a deep understanding of violence against women in order to be able to respond effectively to victims of violence in those communities where partners operated. The training programme was also intended to train other civil society organisations as well as state agencies such as the Police, health and social welfare personnel and indeed all stakeholders who interacted with victims of violence in any way.

This Training Manual has evolved from the initial training programmes that took place between 2000 and 2002. Over the years, the course content and the resource materials found in the manual have been used by a number of organisations that have taken up Violence against Women (VAW) as a programme. The Gender Centre therefore found the need to publish the manual in order to make it more accessible to a wider public.

The manual is in seven sections with each section dealing with one topic. These are:

Section 1: Defining Violence: This first section starts with building on participant’s understanding of what is violence and introduces some international definitions of violence. It also explores why it is important to have a universal definition of violence.

Section 2: Explaining Violence against Women: This section deals with the causes of violence and introduces the ideology of patriarchy and power and control as tools of women’s subordination. It further explores some of the myths surrounding violence and social influences supporting violence. This session is very important as it deals with the social underpinnings of violence and gets participants to start interrogating their own understanding of gender roles and how a departure from these roles leads to violence.

Section 3: Physical and Psychological Violence: Section three goes into detailed explanation of physical and psychological violence and what constitutes each one.

Section 4: Sexual Violence: This section sets out to identify all the different elements of sexual violence, increase knowledge on facts of the issue and to debunk myths surrounding sexual violence.

Section 5: Impacts of Violence: The section examines in detail the impact of violence, not only on the woman but also on children of the family. It  also explores the link between wife assault and child abuse.

Section 6: Responding to Violence: The key objective of this section is to improve participant’s knowledge on how best to respond to victims of violence when they report. The section deals with issues to be aware of at a personal level when responding as well as professional issues in assessment of victims.

Section 7: Resource and Referral Auditing: This final section deals with helping participants development guidelines for carrying out resources and referral audits. This section is only suitable for those participants who intend to set up community -based programmes to respond to violence. Each section stands on its own and at the same time leads into the next section. The sections are structured using a number of methodologies, including group and individual exercises, lecture and facilitators notes.

As much as possible, we have used data from our national research but we have also used information from other jurisdictions which are complementary to the Ghana data. While efforts have been made to include as many exercises and materials as possible, it is possible for the facilitator to introduce any materials and case studies that may be available. For participants to get a clear understanding of violence against women, it is recommended that they are taken through section 1 to 6 and undertake as many of the recommended exercises as possible. Depending on the previous experience of the participants, the training programme can be carried out over a minimum five days and a maximum of two weeks. Where it is not possible to have participants together for a continuous period, it is possible to do the training one section at a time. While some sections can be done within one day, experience shows that Session 2, Explaining violence would require a minimum of two days