Anjali Dave, Centre for Equity for Women, Children and Families, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, V. N. Purav Marg, Deonar, Mumbai 400088, Maharashtra, India. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article attempts to describe the experiences of violated women and the struggles of social workers to contest violence against women in the Indian context. It begins with a brief account of an “indigenous model”: the establishment of a service for violated women in India within the police force—the Special Cell on Violence Against Women. The article traces the strategic location, vision, growth, present position, expansion, and replication of the Special Cell in India, and discusses the necessity of working simultaneously with violated women, formal systems, and social structures; its contribution to the campaign for a Domestic Violence Act; and the resultant outcomes. The arduous nature of the work required for violated women and the women’s own assessment of the Special Cells were accessed through a rigorous evaluation study, which is presented in the article, providing an answer and affirmation to the question: Why work with the Establishment–—the State.