Gender-based violence: theater as a training tool for police officers in Bihar, India

Artistic expression and theater in particular can be used to address specific social issues. The Indian NGO Mittika has developed a singular training that will serve to question police officers in the state of Bihar about the dynamics of violence and systems of domination, and, beyond that, about gender stereotypes. FID’s funding will enable the project team to evaluate the gender-sensitization training program by conducting surveys with police officers and victims and study the changes in prevailing social norms induced by the program with regard to gender-based violence.

 

Context

The eastern Indian state of Bihar has one of the highest rates of gender-based violence in the country, and policy measures to address this reality are very limited. As a result, women’s level of trust in institutions is very low: cases of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) are rarely registered with the competent services, perpetrators go unpunished, and situations persist.

Innovation

In an attempt to curb the growing curve of gender-based violence, the training developed by Mittika aims to sensitize police officers on this type of violence through techniques that combine expressive arts and theater combined with knowledge from behavioral science.

The program includes approximately 35 hours of training. Sessions are conducted with groups of up to 25-30 officers. Each session is led by two expert-facilitators in teaching expressive arts.

Through FID’s funding, DAI Research & Advisory Services, in partnership with the state of Bihar, will conduct a randomized control trial in 387 police stations and 12 districts. The evaluation will assess the impact of the training on police performance, mindset of officers, and measure how these changes may improve women’s experience with institutions.

Expected results

Surveys to be conducted with police officers, victims and women will measure attitudinal changes in terms of soft skills (empathy, change in norms, quality of interaction between women and officers), technical knowledge of laws and procedures, and legal performance generated by the training provided on gender-based violence. The project will evaluate the impact of the intervention on the following outcomes.

  • Sensitization of police officers to gender-based violence issues
  • Change of mentality and behavior in police stations and at community level
  • Increase in the number of complaints filed by women, charges and convictions
  • Reduction of violence in areas surrounding police stations
  • Study of the intervention scale up, adaptation of the training to other police stations in India and expansion to other countries in the region

Presentation of the team

DAI Research & Advisory Services Pvt Lt, created in 2020, aims to provide specialist research and evaluation services to Academic Institutions, Government Agencies and Impact Organisations in India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
Mittika is an NGO based in Delhi with expertise in delivering interventions to address social change around gender norms and behaviors through expressive arts and theater.