Domestic violence is a common problem that may affect more than a quarter of
women. It is a complex area in which to undertake research. Studies often focus
on selected populations and exhibit a diversity of design, making comparison
This review focuses on physical violence by men against women
partners or ex-partners, and exemplifies important issues for general
practitioners. Domestic violence frequently goes undetected. This may be the
result of doctor's fears of exploring an area perceived as time-consuming, where
knowledge is lacking and where they feel powerless to fix the situation.
may not reveal that they are experiencing violence, sometimes because doctors
are unsympathetic or hostile. Nevertheless, women wish to be asked routinely
about physical abuse and want to receive immediate advice and information about
their options if necessary.
Women experience a range of health and social
problems in association with domestic violence, including depression, anxiety,
substance abuse and pregnancy complications. However, none of these features is
specific enough to be useful as an indicator of violence.
should routinely ask all women direct questions about abuse. This recommendation
can be incorporated into guidelines, which should be implemented widely in the
UK, to improve the care of women experiencing domestic violence. In parallel
with this, the educational needs of general practitioners should be addressed.
Further research is needed to establish the prevalence of domestic violence in
women presenting to general practice and to investigate how the problem is
currently being addressed. If progress is to be made in tackling domestic
violence, action within primary care is just one part of this: a fundamental
change in the attitudes of men towards women is required. Domestic violence is a
pattern of assault and coercive behaviour including physical, sexual and
psychological attacks, by a person against his/her own intimate partner.
are more frequently the victims. After a global overview of the prevalence and
nature of domestic violence against women especially in Mauritius, this articles
provides a discussion about health problems and risk factors among the female
victims with the objective of giving preventive measures to eradicate it from
NGOs, along with legislative measures, have proven helpful in
improving quality of life and preventing violence-related injuries among women.
The health sector also plays an important role as part of multi-sector efforts
in early detection and prevention of cases of domestic violence. Psychiatrists
are in a unique position for early identification of such patients as well as
Domestic violence also known as domestic abuse is defined as:
# An incident or a pattern of incidents of controlling,
coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse. It concerns people aged 16
or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members and it can
happen regardless of your gender or sexuality. Domestic violence can include,
but is not limited to, the following types of abuse: psychological, emotional,
physical, sexual and financial. It also includes what is known as 'honour' based
violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage. Domestic violence
affects people of every class, gender, level of wealth, geography, age, race,
disability and sexuality.
The violence can begin at any stage of the
relationship and may continue after the relationship has ended. It is a pattern
of controlling and aggressive behaviour that is intentional and calculated to
exercise power and control within a relationship.
Domestic abuse is when one
person in a relationship uses different ways to gain power and control over the
other. Abuse is behaviour that physically harms, causes fear, prevents a person
from doing what they want, or forces them to behave in ways they do not freely
# Domestic abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional and
psychological, financial, or spiritual. Many victims say that the emotional and
psychological abuse is just as bad if not worse than the physical abuse and that
it is harder to recover from.
# Domestic abuse can happen in any family or intimate
partner relationship. It can happen to anyone, regardless of his or her social
group, background, race, class, gender, religion, age, ability or disability,
sexual orientation or lifestyle. Women are overwhelmingly the victims of most
serious domestic abuse, but sometimes men are the victims too.
# Men are usually the perpetrators of the most serious
domestic abuse, but sometimes women are perpetrators too. In New Zealand,
domestic abuse happens to people of all ethnicities, cultures, ages, sexual
identities, and socioeconomic groups.
A Brief Overview – Battered Women Syndrome
Battered woman or battered person syndrome is a psychological condition that can
result when a person experiences abuse, usually at the hands of an intimate
What types of abuse does it involve?
Abuse of an intimate partner can take many forms, including
emotional, physical, and financial abuse.
· Sexual abuse: This includes rape, unwanted sexual
contact, and verbal sexual harassment.
· Stalking: A person uses threatening tactics that cause a
person to feel fear and concern for their safety.
· Physical abuse: Including slapping, shoving, burning, and
the use of a knife or gun to cause bodily harm.
· Psychological aggression: Examples include calling a
person names, humiliating them, or coercive control, which means behaving in a
way that aims to control the person.
According to the NCADV, a person who is experiencing abuse may:
# feel isolated, anxious, depressed, or helpless
# be embarrassed and fear judgment and stigmatization
# love the person who is harming them and believe they will
# be emotionally withdrawn and lack support from family and
# deny that anything is wrong or excuse the person who is
# be unaware of the type of help that is available
# have moral or religious reasons for staying in the
When a person has been through an abusive relationship, the impact can
continue long after leaving the relationship.
The person may:
# experience sleep problems, including nightmares
# have sudden intrusive feelings about the abuse avoid
talking about the abuse
# avoid situations that remind them of the abuse
# experience feelings of anger, sadness, hopelessness, and
# have intense feelings of fear
# have panic attacks or flashbacks to the abuse
Physical abuse can lead to injuries such as organ damage, broken bones, and
lost teeth. Sometimes the injuries can be lasting and possibly
life-threatening. The impact of abuse on a person's wellbeing can be severe. For
this reason, it is important to know that help is available and to seek help.
Stages of Abuse
Abuse can happen on a single occasion, it can be a long-term problem, it can
happen most of the time or only from time to time.
It often occurs in cycles.
# Tension building: Tension slowly builds and causes
low-level conflict. The person who is carrying out the abuse may feel neglected
or angry. They may think that these feelings justify their aggression toward the
# Battering phase: Over time, the tension grows into a
conflict, culminating in abuse, which may be physical, emotional, psychological,
or sexual. Over time, these episodes may last longer and become more severe.
# Honeymoon phase: After carrying out the abuse, the
individual may feel remorse. They may attempt to win back their partner's trust
and affection. The person who experiences the abuse may idealize their partner
during this period, seeing only their good side and making excuses for what
According to the NCADV, people who carry out abuse can often be charming and
pleasant outside the periods of abuse. These factors, too, can make it hard for
a partner to leave.
Indian laws relating to Domestic ViolenceSections in Indian Penal Code
. Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to
Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman,
subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term
which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.
For the purpose of this section, cruelty
means- (a) any wilful
conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit
suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether
mental or physical) of woman; or
(b) harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her
or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or
valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to
her to meet such demand.
The basic essentials to attract this section are:
a) The woman must be married
b) She must be subjected to cruelty or harassment; and Such cruelty or
harassment must have been shown either by husband of the woman or by the
relative of her husband A bare glance of the section shows that the word
covers any or all of the following elements:
(i) Any wilful
conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit
(ii) any wilful
conduct which is likely to cause grave injury to
the woman; or (iii) any wilful act which is likely to cause danger to life, limb
or health whether physical or mental of the woman Also, criminality attached to
is free of cruelty
and punishable in the
(i) Where the harassment of the woman is with a view to
coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any
property or valuable security or
(ii) Where the harassment is on account of
failure by her or any persons related to her to meet such demand It is evident
that neither every cruelty nor harassment has criminal culpability for the
purposes of Section 498-A. In cases of physical violence and infliction of
injury likely to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health, the facts
speak for themselves.
So, we can see that, this law deals with four types of cruelty:
(i) Any conduct
that is likely to drive a woman to suicide,
(ii) Any conduct which is likely to
cause grave injury to the life, limb or health of the woman,
with the purpose of forcing the woman or her relatives to give some property, or
(iv) Harassment because the woman or her relatives are either unable to yield to
the demand for more money or do not give some share of the property.
Protection of Women under Domestic Violence 2005
The Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (hereinafter referred
to as the Domestic Violence Act) drafted for women empowerment and for
protection of women against acts of violence in India.
Scope of the Act
The scope of this piece of legislation has been expounded in plethora of
judgements by the High Courts and the Supreme Court in India. For instance, in a
recent judgment the High Court of Gujarat in the case of Bhartiben Bipinbhai
Tamboli v. State of Gujrat and ors
While extensively discussing the provisions
under the Domestic Violence Act remarked that:
The domestic violence in this Country is rampant and several women
encounter violence in some form or the other or almost
everyday. However, it is the least reported form of cruel behaviour. A woman resigns her fate to the never ending cycle of enduring violence and discrimination as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a partner, a single woman in her lifetime. This
non- retaliation by women coupled with the absence of laws
addressing womens issues, ignorance of the existing laws enacted for women
and societal attitude makes the women vulnerable. The reason why most case of domestic violence are never reported is due to the social stigma of the society and the attitude of the women themselves, where women are expected to be
subservient, not just to their male counterparts but also to the male relatives.
Till the year 2005, the remedies available to a victim of domestic violence were limited. The women either
had to go to the civil court for a decree of divorce or initiate prosecution in
the criminal court for the offence punishable under Section 498A of IPC.
In both the proceedings,
no emergency relief is available to the victim. Also, the relationships
outside the marriage were not recognized. This set
of circumstances ensured that a majority of women preferred to suffer in silence, not out of choice but of compulsion. Having regard to all these facts, the Parliament thought fit to enact Domestic
Violence Act. The main Object of the Act is protection of women from violence
inflicted by a man or/and a woman. It is a progressive Act, whose sole intention
is to protect the women irrespective of the relationship she shares with the
The definition of an aggrieved person under the Act is so wide that it taken
within its purview even women who are living with their partners in a live in
Who can file a complaint under the Domestic Violence Act?
Section 2(a) of the Domestic Violence Act defines “aggrieved person” as any
woman who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the respondent and
who alleges to have been subjected to any act of domestic violence by the
The Domestic Violence Act not only covers those women who are or have been in a
relationship with the abuser but it also covers those women who have lived
together in a shared household and are related by consanguinity, marriage of
through a relationship in the nature of marriage or adoption.
Even those women who are sisters, widows, mothers, single women, or living in any other relationship with the abuser are entitled to legal protection under the Domestic
Against whom can the complaint be filed under the Domestic Violence Act?
Section 2(q) of the Domestic Violence Act defines “respondent” as any adult male
person who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the aggrieved person
and against whom the aggrieved person has sought any relief under this Act:
Provided that an aggrieved wife or female living in a relationship in the nature
of a marriage may also file a complaint against a relative of the husband or the
In view of the definition of the term respondent covering adult male person, the
judiciary has time and again been confronted with the argument that an aggrieved
person can file complain under the Domestic Violence Act against an adult male
person only and not against the female relatives of the husband i.e.
However, the Supreme Court in the case of Sandhya Wankhede vs. Manoj Bhimrao Wnakhede
put ot rest the issue by holding that the proviso to Section 2(q) does not
exclude female relatives of the husband or male partner from the ambit of a
complaint that can be made under the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act.
Therefore, complaints are not just maintainable against the adult male person
but also the female relative of such adult male.
Wife cannot implicate one and all in the family
-Though the Domestic Violence
Actis a beneficial legislation, the same has been many times reported to be
misused by women. For instance, in several cases women register complaint
under Domestic Violence Act against one and all relatives of husband even
without any evidence of abuse against them.
In the case of Ashish Dixit vs. State of UP & Anr
. the Supreme Court has held
that a wife cannot implicate one and all in a Domestic violence case. In this
case, the complainant apart from arraying the husband and in-laws in
the complaint, had also included all and sundry as parties to the case, of which
the complainant didnt even know names.
Types of abuse under the Domestic Violence Act
The Gujrat High Court in a recent case of Bhartiben Bipinbhai Tamboli v. State
of Gujrat and ors. (read here) elaborated on the types of abuse or domestic
violence under the Act. The same is enumerated below:
Physical abuse is the use of physical force against a woman in a way that
causes her bodily injury or hurt. Physical assault, criminal
intimidation and criminal force are also forms of physical
abuse like beating, kicking and punching, throwing objects,
damaging property, punched walls, kicked doors, abandoning her in
a dangerous or
unfamiliar place, using a weapon to threaten or hurt her, forcing her to
leave the matrimonial home, hurting her children, using physical force in
This is also a form of physical abuse. Any situation in which a woman is forced
to participate in unwanted safe or degrading sexual activity, calling her sexual
names, hurting a woman with objects and weapons during sex is sexual abuse.
Verbal and Emotional Abuse
Many women suffer from emotional abuse, which is no less
Unfortunately, emotional abuse is often minimized or overlooked – even by the woman being
Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming
and shaming. Isolation, intimidation and controlling behaviour also fall under emotional abuse. Calls her names, insults her or continually criticizes her.
Economic abuse is not a very recognized form of abuse among the women but it
is very detrimental. Economic abuse mainly includes a woman not
been provided with enough money by her partner to
maintain herself and her children, which may comprise money for food, clothing,
medicines etc. and not allowing a woman to take up an employment . Forcing
her out of the house and not allowing a woman to take up
an employment. Forcing her out of the house where she lives
not providing her rent, in case of a rented share hold also amounts to abuse.
Depriving her of all or any economic or financial resources to which the person
is entitled under the law or custom, restricting the
womans access to the shared household. Disposing or alienating the assets of the women
whether movable or immovable, valuables, shares,
securities, bonds and the like other property in which she may have an interest.
However seeking maintenance to
unjustly enrich ones self and that too without providing the alleged act of domestic violence is a
gross abuse of the process of law.
Duty of Courts while deciding cases under the Domestic Violence Act
In the case of Krishna Bhatacharjee vs. Sarathi Choudhury and Another
Apex Court while elucidating on the duty of courts while deciding complaints
under the Domestic Violence Act stated that:
# It is the duty of the Court to scrutinise the facts from
all angles whether a plea advanced by the respondent to nullify the grievance of
the aggrieved person is really legally sound and correct.
# The principle “justice to the cause is equivalent to the
salt of ocean” should be kept in mind. The Court of Law is bound to uphold the
truth which sparkles when justice is done.
# Before throwing a petition at the threshold, it is
obligatory to see that the person aggrieved under such a legislation is not
faced with a situation of non-adjudication, for the 2005 Act as we have stated
is a beneficial as well as assertively affirmative enactment for the realisation
of the constitutional rights of women and to ensure that they do not become
victims of any kind of domestic violence
3.3 Establishment of women cell
4. International Laws Related to Domestic Violence
International law and policy on domestic violence has developed primarily
through the work of the United Nations in treaties resolutions, and conferences.
The Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women also serves as an independent
expert to the U.N. on issues encompassing domestic violence. These actors, along
with activists around the world, have spent decades working to have domestic
violence recognized as a violation of human rights, to raise awareness, conduct
research, and promote education on the issue, and to establish state
responsibility for private acts of domestic violence. Through their efforts,
there is now clear guidance that not only is domestic violence a violation of
human rights, but that states have a responsibility to prevent violence against
women in all its forms, protect women from violence, punish perpetrators of
violence against women, and provide reparations to victims.
UN Treaties on Domestic Violence
Many treaties and conventions do not specifically mention domestic violence or
violence against women, but they have still been interpreted as relevant to
domestic violence. These include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant
on Social, Economic, and Cultural Rights; the Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention Against To.
UN Resolutions on Domestic Violence
The Human Rights Council and the General Assembly have adopted numerous
resolutions that address violence against women, including the Declaration on
the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Resolution 18/47, and many additional
resolutions over the past few decades.
UN Conference Documents on Domestic Violence
The international community has come together to fight domestic violence at
various international conferences, including the Conference in Copenhagen, the
World Conference on Women in Nairobi, and the Beijing Conferences. The documents
produced, while not binding, serve as important resources for establishing a
consensus on ending domestic violence throughout the world.
Domestic Violence: Special Rapporteur
The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women plays a key role in helping
to end domestic violent. The Special Rapporteur visits countries throughout the
world, gathers information, reports to the UN Human Rights Council, and makes
recommendations to governments and agencies.
State Responsibility for Domestic Violence
While traditionally, international law was seen as inapplicable to domestic
violence because it is performed by individuals rather than governments of
nations, in the past few decades, the development of the Due Diligence Standard
has changed perspectives on the applicability of international law to the
Domestic violence is one of the most horrendous kinds of abuse suffered women in
our society today. The statistics show that 85 percent of domestic violence
victims are female. Only 15 percent of victims are men. Domestic violence can
happen to anyone, it does not matter the race, creed, religion, or standing in
society of the victim. If the issue of domestic violence is not dealt with in a
manner, which is sufficient, then this type of abuse will continue among all
classes of society with no ending. In order for us as a society to eradicate
this horrendous type of abuse, we need to stand together and make tougher laws,
which will protect the victims of this abuse.
The problems of child maltreatment, domestic violence, and elder abuse have
generated hundreds of separate interventions in social service, health, and law
enforcement settings. This array of interventions has been driven by the urgency
of the different types of family violence, client needs, and the responses of
service providers, advocates, and communities. The interventions now constitute
a broad range of institutional services that focus on the identification,
treatment, prevention, and deterrence of family violence.
The array of interventions that is currently in place and the dozens of
different types of programs and services associated with each intervention
represent a valuable body of expertise and experience that is in need of
systematic scientific study to inform and guide service design, treatment,
prevention, and deterrence.
The challenge for the research community, service
providers, program sponsors, and policy makers is to develop frameworks to
enhance critical analyses of current strategies, interventions, and programs and
identify next steps in addressing emerging questions and cross-cutting issues.
Many complexities now characterize family violence interventions and challenge
the development of rigorous scientific evaluations.
 United Nation Report On Domestic Violence
Written by: Deepika (Student) - Kr Mangalam Umiversity, Haryana
Email: [email protected]