Domestic violence is a pervasive and multifaceted social issue that transcends
geographical, cultural, and socioeconomic boundaries. This article provides a
comprehensive exploration of domestic violence, encompassing its intricate
dynamics, far-reaching impact, and diverse intervention strategies.
Drawing on extensive research and empirical evidence, this article delves into
the complex dynamics of domestic violence, shedding light on the underlying
causes, patterns, and power imbalances that perpetuate abusive relationships. It
examines the interplay of psychological, emotional, physical, and economic
abuse, emphasizing the need for a holistic understanding of this phenomenon.
Beyond dissecting the dynamics, this research underscores the profound impact of
domestic violence on victims, families, and communities. It analyzes the
physical and mental health repercussions, economic consequences, and
intergenerational cycles of violence that ensue from such abuse. Moreover, the
article highlights the societal costs of domestic violence, including strains on
healthcare systems and law enforcement agencies.
In addressing this critical issue, the article provides an in-depth review of
intervention strategies and support systems. It evaluates the effectiveness of
legal measures, shelters, counseling services, and community initiatives in
mitigating domestic violence and assisting survivors. Ultimately, this article
argues for a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to combat domestic
violence, recognizing that effective solutions require collaboration between law
enforcement, healthcare professionals, social services, and community
By synthesizing research findings and practical insights, this article
contributes to the ongoing discourse on domestic violence, advocating for a
collective effort to create safer, more compassionate communities for all.
Domestic violence is characterized as a violent form of control used by one
person against another. It is also described to as using various forms of abuse
to establish control and terror in a relationship. Psychological, sexual,
financial, or physical abuse are all forms of torture. In addition to being a
social problem, this serious violation of human rights puts the victim at risk
for social and physical harm.
Domestic violence is violence committed by someone
in the victim's domestic circle. This includes partners and ex-partners,
immediate family members, other relatives, and family friends. When the offender
and the victim have a close relationship, the phrase "domestic violence" is
used. It occurs when one partner in a relationship uses threats, mental abuse,
manipulation, trying to hurt, injury, or financial abuse to take control of the
Domestic abuse, such as domestic violence, takes place in a marriage or
cohabitation. It is frequently used as a synonym for intimate partner violence,
which occurs when one party in an intimate relationship hurts the other partner.
This type of violence can occur in current relationships as well as between
ex-spouses or partners. The power differential between them is typical.
victim is dependent on the offender. Domestic violence can take the form of
physical, sexual, or psychological abuse. According to Ganley and Schecter, it
is described as a "Pattern of coercive and assaultive behaviors that include
physical, sexual verbal and psychological attacks and economic coercion that
adult/adolescents used against the intimate partner."
Under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the judiciary has the
authority to punish this grievous offense. If a woman is subjected to cruelty by
her husband or a family member of her husband, that person faces up to three
years in prison and a fine in addition to their punishment. According to Section
3 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005, any act or
omission by the Respondent that damages, injures, threatens, or abuses
physically, sexually, verbally, or economically constitutes domestic violence.
According to the Federal Department of Health's National Family Health Survey
(NFHS-4), one in three women aged 15 and over in India has experienced some form
of domestic violence. Also, 31% of married women said they had been physically,
sexually or emotionally tortured by their partner. The main concern is that only
around 10% of these women reported violence.
Types Of Domestic Violence:
- Sexual Violence
- Physical Violence
- Emotional Violence
- Economical Violence
According to the WHO, any sexual act, effort to obtain a sexual act, unwanted
sexual comments or approaches, acts to traffic, or other coercive actions
directed at a person's sexuality are all considered sexual abuse. Additionally,
there are required checks for female genital mutilation and virginity.
abuse can also happen if a person is verbally coerced into consenting, unable to
comprehend the nature or circumstances of the act, unable to deny participation,
or unable to express reluctance to engage in the sexual act. These are
additional ways that sexual abuse can happen. This could be the result of
immaturity in youth, disease, a disability, being under the influence of alcohol
or other drugs, or being intimidated or under pressure.
Any act in which a person is coerced into engaging in any unwanted, risky, or
degrading sexual behavior is considered sexual violence. It involves berating
her, inflicting physical injury on her during sex, and even compelling her to
engage in intercourse with a spouse or other close partner with whom she had
The use of physical force against a woman to cause bodily harm or injury is
referred to as physical violence. Physical assault, criminal intimidation, and
criminal force include beating, stomping, punching, leaving the victim in a
dangerous situation, intimidating the victim with a weapon, pressuring the
victim to leave the marital home, hurting the victim's children, using physical
force during sexual encounters, and other methods.
Physical abuse is any behavior that involves physical contact with the intent to
inflict fear, pain, harm, or other physical suffering. Physical abuse is used to
control the victim in the context of coercive control. Physical violence in a
relationship frequently has complicated dynamics. Physical abuse can be the
result of other abusive behaviors such as intimidation, manipulation, threats,
and restrictions on the victim's right to self-determination through isolation.
Physical abuse might also take the form of withholding medical attention,
denying sleep, or requiring forced drug or alcohol use. It might also entail
physically harming additional targets, such children or animals, in order to
emotionally damage the sufferer.
A woman is more likely to be abused during pregnancy, or ongoing abuse could
worsen and have an adverse impact on both the mother and the fetus's health.
Domestic violence may stop during pregnancy if the abuser doesn't want to hurt
the unborn child. Immediately following childbirth is when pregnant women are
most at risk of domestic abuse.
A pattern of behavior that intimidates, threatens, dehumanizes, or
systematically lowers self-worth is known as emotional or psychological abuse.
The Istanbul Convention defines
psychological violence as "the deliberate act of gravely harming a person's
psychological integrity by compulsion or threats." Constant personal
devaluation, coercive control, recurrent stonewalling, gaslighting, threats,
isolation, public humiliation, minimizing, and continuous criticism are all
examples of emotional abuse. The most frequent perpetrators of stalking, a
prevalent form of psychological intimidation, are former or current romantic
Not all violent and harmful relationships are abusive ones. Emotional abuse,
which harms women just as much as physical assault, is common. It entails
calling her outright names, making accusations, isolating her, frightening her,
acting in a dictatorial manner, insulting her, or relentlessly criticizing her.
Victims frequently believe their partners have almost complete control over
them, which has a significant impact on the power dynamics in a relationship and
empowers the abuser while disempowering the victim. Depressed victims are more
likely to develop eating disorders, commit suicide, and abuse drugs and alcohol.
When one intimate partner has control over the other partner's access to money
resources, it is known as economic abuse (or financial abuse). Control is
exercised via marital assets. A spouse may be subjected to economic abuse if
their partner is prevented from acquiring resources, has their access to
resources restricted, or is subjected to abuse in other ways.
reduces the victim's ability to sustain oneself and increases dependence on the
abuser, limiting the victim's access to assets, employment opportunities,
education, and career advancement. Economic abuse includes coercing a family
member to sign legal documents, sell possessions, or alter a will.
Economic violence occurs when a woman's spouse denies her access to enough money
to pay for food, clothing, medicine, and other necessities for herself and her
children. In addition, it forbids women from holding paid employment.
addition, restricting her access to shared domestic resources and forcibly
evicting her from her house due to unpaid rent, denying her financial resources
to which she is legally entitled, are all included in this category. It also
entails selling or otherwise disposing of her jewelry, shares, stocks, and other
tangible property, whether it is moveable or immovable.
Laws That Deal With Domestic Violence Cases:
Protection Of Women Against Domestic Violence Act, 2005:
To protect women from domestic abuse, the Indian Parliament passed the
Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005. The Indian government and
Ministry of Women and Child Development implemented it on October 26, 2006. For
the first time in Indian law, a term of "domestic violence" is given in the Act.
This definition is comprehensive and covers not just physical violence but also
emotional, verbal, sexual, and psychological abuse. It is a civil law that
places more emphasis on enforcing protection orders than it does criminal laws.
In contrast to the rules of the Indian Penal Code, the Protection of Women from
Domestic Violence Act, of 2005 gives a broader definition of domestic violence
in terms of what it covers and who it protects. According to the Act, "any woman
who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the respondent and who
alleges to have been subjected to domestic abuse by the respondent" is
considered the aggrieved person. Women who live in the same home as people they
are in a domestic relationship with are also protected under this law from
violence committed against them.
This safeguards women from abuse in marriage-based relationships (e.g.,
husband-wife, daughter-in-law relationships with father-in-law/mother-in-law,
and others), blood-based relationships (e.g., father-daughter, sister-brother),
adoption-based relationships (e.g., adopted daughter-father), and even
marriage-based relationships (ex: live-in relationships, legally invalid
marriages). This Act was regarded as the first piece of law that gave nonmarital
partnerships legal recognition and protection.
According to Section 3 of the Act, "any act, omission, action, or conduct by the
responder shall constitute domestic violence in the following circumstances:
- Harms, injures, or endangers the aggrieved person's health, safety,
life, limb, or wellbeing, whether mental or physical, or tends to do so,
including by inflicting physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, or economic
- Harasses, harms, injures, or endangers the aggrieved person to coerce
her or any other person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any
dowry, other property; or
- Having the effect of endangering the offended party or any of her family
members by engaging in any of the behavior described in clauses (a) or (b).
The Act encompasses and specifies various types of violence, including economic
abuse, sexual assault, and verbal and emotional abuse.
The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961:
The giving and receiving of dowry is punishable under this penal statute. The
dowry system is prohibited by the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961. A person who
offers, accepts, or even requests dowry may face a fine of up to 5,000 rupees or
a half-year in prison (i.e., 6 months).
Penalization for dowry transactions Section 3 states that anyone who offers,
takes, or aids in the giving or taking of dowry after the Act's implementation
will be punished with a period of imprisonment of at least five years and a fine
of at least Rs. 15,000 or the amount of the dowry, whichever is greater.
Section 4 states that anyone who directly or indirectly asks the parents,
guardians, or relatives of the bride or the bridegroom for money would be
penalized with a minimum of six months in jail and a maximum of two years in
prison as well as a fine that could reach ten thousand rupees.
In the case of Bhoora Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, the court found that
the deceased had sent a letter to her father before being set on fire by her
in-laws, complaining about being mistreated, harassed, and threatened with
terrible repercussions for not paying the demanded dowry. As a result, the
section 4 offense of dowry demand had been committed.
Indian Penal Code, 1860:
- Dowry Death (section 304 B)
If it can be proven that a woman was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her
husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand
for dowry shortly before her death, such death shall be called "dowry death,"
and such husband or relatives shall be deemed to have caused her death. Such
deaths shall occur within seven years of a woman's marriage and shall be
referred to as "dowry deaths."
Anyone who commits dowry death will be punished with a sentence of imprisonment
that must not be less than seven years but may go as long as life imprisonment.
- Husband or relative of husband subjecting women to cruelty (section 498-A)
Whoever, being the husband or the relatives of the husband of a woman, subject
such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may
extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.
It also includes any intentional acts against a woman that drive her to kill
herself or endanger her life, limb, or general wellbeing. Health here includes
both a woman's bodily and mental well-being.
Effects Of Domestic Violence:
- On Children
Some of the immediate consequences of a domestic violence incident that
necessitate medical attention and hospitalization include bruises, broken bones,
head injuries, lacerations, and internal bleeding. Arthritis, irritable bowel
syndrome, pelvic pain, chronic pain, ulcers, and migraines are a few chronic
health conditions that have been connected to victims of domestic violence.
Pregnant victims who are in a domestic violence relationship have a higher risk
of miscarriage, preterm labor, and fetal harm or death.
According to the WHO, women who are in abusive relationships are far more likely
to contract HIV or AIDS. According to the WHO, women in abusive relationships
struggle to negotiate safer sex with their partners, are frequently coerced into
having sex, and find it challenging to request the proper tests when they
suspect they may be HIV positive. Women who have suffered partner violence are
more likely to contract HIV, according to a decade's worth of cross-sectional
study from Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa, and India.
High levels of tension, dread, and anxiety are frequently reported by victims
who are still housed with their assailants. Depression is also commonplace since
victims frequently endure harsh criticism and are made to feel guilty for
"causing" the abuse. According to reports, 60% of victims, either during or
after the relationship ended, fulfil the diagnostic criteria for depression or
have a significantly elevated risk of suicide.
People who have been physically
or emotionally abused frequently experience depression due to a sense of
worthlessness. Due to the increased risk of suicide and other traumatic
symptoms, it is advised that many people who experience these feelings seek
Domestic abuse victims frequently feel long-term anxiety and panic in addition
to sadness, and they are likely to fit the diagnostic criteria for generalized
anxiety disorder and panic disorder. The psychological impact of domestic
violence that is most frequently mentioned is PTSD, which is characterized by
nightmares, intrusive imagery, flashbacks, and an enhanced startle response.
When victims finally escape their abusers, they may be shocked to realize just
how much autonomy the violence has robbed them of. The victim typically has very
little money of their own and few individuals on whom they can rely when seeking
help because of economic abuse and isolation. This has been demonstrated to be
one of the biggest challenges faced by victims of domestic violence and the most
powerful deterrent to separating from their abusers.
There has been an increase in recognition of the developmental and psychological
harm that domestic abuse exposure can do to children. The Adverse Childhood
Experiences Study, conducted in the middle of the 1990s, discovered that
children who experienced domestic abuse and other forms of abuse were more
likely to experience difficulties with their mental and physical health. The
awareness of domestic abuse that some children experience has an effect on the
child's emotional, social, behavioral, and cognitive development in general.
Domestic abuse can cause a variety of emotional and behavioral issues, including
an increase in aggression, anxiety, and modifications in how a kid interacts
with peers, family, and adults. Traumatic events can lead to depression,
emotional instability, and mental health disorders. Along with a deficiency in
abilities like problem-solving, issues with attitude and cognition can start to
emerge in schools.
Landmark Domestic Violence Cases In India:
Inder Raj Malik V. Sunita Malik, (1986):
Facts of the case:
Sunita Malik, the complainant in this instance, was wed to Inder Raj Mailk, the
respondent. After their marriage, the complainant Sunita was maltreated,
malnourished, and mistreated by her husband and in-laws, especially during
festivals, in order to obtain more and more money and items.
She was once subjected to severe physical and mental abuse in her marital house
to the point of fainting, but no doctor was summoned for a checkup.
If Sunita Malik didn't force her parents to sell their land in Hauz Qazi, her
mother and brother-in-law threatened to kill her and abduct her. As a result, it
was determined that the complainant, Sunita Mailk, had endured terrible
treatment from her husband and in laws, including physical torture. To coerce
Sunita Malik or anyone connected to her into fulfilling an unlawful obligation
for both moveable and immovable property, harassment was used.
Issues involved in the case:
Judgment was given by the Court:
- Are the provisions of Article 20(2) of the Indian Constitution's Double Jeopardy
clause applicable to Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code from 1860 and Section
4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act from 1961?
- Does the Indian Penal Code, 1860's Section 498A violate the law?
The Delhi High Court had to determine in this case whether a defendant may be
found guilty under both Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act and Section 498A
of the Indian Penal Code. The Court determined that a person is not subject to
double jeopardy if they are found guilty under both Section 4 of the Dowry
Prohibition Act of 1956 and Section 498A of the IPC.
The Court determined that
Section 498A, IPC, and Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act are separate laws
since Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act only punishes acts of cruelty
committed against newlywed women, whereas Section 498A also punishes the mere
demand of dowry. This leads one to the conclusion that a person could be charged
with a crime under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act as well as Section
498A of the Indian Penal Code.
Hiralal P. Harsora And Ors V. Kusum Narottamdas Harsora And Ors,
Facts of the case:
The plaintiffs in this case were a mother-daughter team named Pushpa Narottam
Harsora and Kusum Narottam Harsora. They made a complaint saying that domestic
abuse was committed by Pradeep (son/brother), his wife, and her two sisters.
Since a complaint may only be made against a "adult male" in accordance with
Section 2(q), the Respondents requested that the Metropolitan Magistrate free
Pradeep's wife and two sisters/daughters. Application from the Respondents was
The definitions under Sections 2(a), 2(f), and 2(s) of the Protection of Women
from Domestic Violence Act shall be taken into consideration when reading
Section 2(q) of the aforementioned Act, the Bombay High Court concluded. In
essence, this ensured that both the "adult male member" and female family
members may be the subject of a complaint.
However, a domestic abuse complaint
cannot be made exclusively against the female household members. Male adult must
be a co-respondent. As a result, the Court did not define "adult male person"
further. The mother and daughter team then petitioned the Supreme Court for a
Issues involved in the case:
Judgement was given by the Court:
- Whether females can be liable under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005?
The adult man was eliminated from the definition of "Respondent" by the Supreme
Court, who ruled that it was not based on any discernible distinction that had
anything to do with the goal that was being pursued. In the same case, the
Supreme Court made it clear that women and children are among those who may file
claims for relief under the Domestic Violence Act.
The phrase "adult male
person" in Section 2(q) cannot be used to limit the word "Respondent" in Section
2(q) or those who can be considered perpetrators of violence against
women/against whom remedies under the Domestic Violence Act are enforceable. As
a result, even against female members and minors, the Domestic Violence Act's
remedies are available.
Arnesh Kumar v/s The State Of Bihar & Anr, 2014:
Facts of the case:
Arnesh Kumar (Appellant) and Sweta Kiran (Respondent) were married on July 1,
2007, and this is their case. Sweta Kiran said in court that her in-laws
demanded Rs. 8 lakhs, a Maruti car, an air conditioner, a television, and other
stuff, and that when Arnesh Kumar learned of this, he supported his mother and
threatened to marry someone else.
She further asserted that because the dowry
demand was not satisfied, she was kicked out of her marital home. Arnesh Kumar
denied the allegations and requested anticipatory bail, however both the learned
Sessions Judge and the High Court rejected his request. As a result, Arnesh
Kumar petitioned the Supreme Court for special leave.
Issues involved in the case:
Should the Appellant be given anticipatory bail?
Judgment was given by the Court:
- If a person is suspected of committing a cognizable offense, must a police
officer arrest in response to a complaint?
- What remedies are offered to a person if a woman takes advantage of section 498A
of the IPC?
The appellant was given conditional interim discharge by the Supreme Court. The
Apex Court stated that Section 498A is a cognizable and non-bailable offense,
earning it a dubious place of pride among the rules that are utilized more as
weapons than as a form of protection by irate wives. The easiest way to harass
is to use this clause to have the spouse and his family jailed. 1,97,762 persons
were detained in India in 2012 for breaking Section 498A of the IPC, as reported
in the "Crime in India 2012 Statistics."
In cases covered by Section 498 A of
the IPC, the charge-sheeting rate might reach 93.6%, although the conviction
rate is only 15%. This information unequivocally shows how this component has
been misused. The easiest way to stop harassment is to use this clause to
imprison the spouse and his relatives. The Apex Court gave some necessary
instructions for Police to follow before holding a person to deter unjustified
arrests of the accused.
A very promising piece of legislation that combines civil and criminal penalties
to provide effective remedies to women who become victims of domestic abuse is
the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and the provisions of the Indian Penal Code,
1860. The law, among other things, contains provisions for protection officers,
medical facilities, and no-cost orders to help wronged women defend themselves
and their loved ones.
The Act is not without problems, though. It is obvious
that the Act's implementation has to be improved. In particular, if the person
who has been wronged comes from a low-income or socially disadvantaged area,
officers commonly fail to file an Initial Information Report (FIR), which is the
first step in starting a police investigation.
It is also true that the Domestic Violence Act has not adequately addressed the
problems that both men and women face in relation to domestic violence, and that
the law is usually implemented incorrectly when it is. In order to prevent
domestic violence from creating fear in the hearts of innocent people, as most
men do, and from providing the other gender a tool for extortion, society needs
more gender-neutral laws that treat men and women equally in these situations.
This Act initially seems to be biased against women. To prevent abuse, advance
gender equality, and provide just justice, the Domestic Violence Act should be
revised to include more gender-neutral provisions.
- Bhoora Singh v. State of U.P. on 12 July 1991, 1992 CriLj 2294
- Inder Raj Malik And Ors. v. Sunita Malik on 30 January 1986 CriLJ 1510, 1986 (2) Crimes 435, 1986 RLR 220
- Hiralal P. Harsora & Ors. v. Kusum Narottamdas Harsora And Ors., Appeal No. 10084 0f 2016
- Arnesh Kumar v. The State of Bihar &Anr. (2014) 8 SCC 273