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Domestic Violence

 Domestic Violence

Written by - Shalini Bishi


Domestic violence is a serious and pervasive issue that affects individuals, families, and communities worldwide. It refers to any form of violence, abuse, or coercive behavior that occurs within an intimate relationship or domestic setting, such as a marriage, partnership, or family. Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse. It can occur across all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, and can affect anyone regardless of gender, age, race, or sexual orientation. Domestic violence not only has devastating consequences for the victim, but also for children who witness the abuse, and for society as a whole. Despite the efforts of governments, organizations, and individuals, domestic violence remains a significant problem that requires ongoing attention and action to prevent and address.

Key characteristics of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005

The Constitution of India has a provision in Article 15 (2) that states firmly that “the state may make particular arrangements for women and children” to achieve the right to equality. Unlike criminal law, which concentrates on punishing the guilty, the Domestic Violence laws in India is a civil law that gives remedy to the victimized women including compensation, protection, and the right to live in a “shared home,” etc. It includes all forms of abuse a woman may experience in her “shared home.”

 It covers women who are or have been in a relationship with the abuser in which both individuals have shared a home and are connected by blood, marriage, a marriage-related tie, or adoption relationships between members of a joint family who reside together are likewise addressed. Under the proposed law, women who are sisters, widows, mothers, single women, or who live with the offender are all entitled to protection.

Domestic Violence defined

Domestic violence is defined under Section 3 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
For the purposes of this Act, any act, omission or commission or conduct of the respondent shall constitute domestic violence in case it-
(a) harms or injures or endangers the health, safety, life, limb or well‑being, whether mental or physical, of the aggrieved person or tends to do so and includes causing physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse and economic abuse; or

(b) harasses, harms, injures or endangers the aggrieved person with a view to coerce her or any other person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any dowry or other property or valuable security; or

(c) has the effect of threatening the aggrieved person or any person related to her by any conduct mentioned in clause (a) or clause (b); or

(d) otherwise injures or causes harm, whether physical or mental, to the aggrieved person.

Definitions of domestic violence recognize that victims can include anyone, regardless of socioeconomic background, education level, race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence was formerly referred to as wife abuse. However, this term was abandoned when the definition of domestic violence was changed to reflect that wives are not the only ones who can fall victim to domestic violence. 

Causes of domestic violence

Female  infanticide

This manifestation of violence is ry much similar to the above offence. It is a pernicious manifestation of an ideology that devalues a girl child. In states like MP , girl child is drowned in mild at birth because nobody is prepared to support her.

Child Marriage

This is a manifestation of Domestic Violence that has historical roots but present and future prevalence. It is a type of violence that uproots the entire existence of woman in her entire existence of a woman in her entire life span, making her permanently weak both in mind and body. A UNICEF report points out that in present times parents consent to child marriage out of economic necessity to protect girls from sexual assault, prevent pregnancy outside marriage to extend a girl child bearing years or to ensure obedience to their husband and house hold.

Child Labour

In India, 28% of the total population lives below poverty line. Meaning thereby these many percent of household services are less than Rs.600 per month. This offence has a much larger reach and extends beyond the four walls of a home; the offenders of this offence are people who need not necessarily be members of the family. 

Forms of Domestic Violence

1.Physical Abuse

While defining Domestic Violence under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, in section 3 of the act Physical Abuse is explained as any act or conduct which is of such nature as to cause bodily pain, harm or danger to life, limb, or health or impair the health or development of the aggrieved person and include assault criminal intimidation and criminal force

2. Psychological/ Emotional Abuse

Causing of abuse to a woman in the domestic sphere is multidimensional. Under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 emotional or psychological abuse which has been categorized as verbal, is explained as to include  insults, ridicule, humiliation, name calling and insults especially with regard to not having a child or a male child and repeated there as to cause physical pain to any person in whom the aggrieved person is interested.

3. Sexual Abuse

International law in the context of violence against women has recognized sexual abuse against women as one of the forms of violence inflicted by both public and private sector.

Impact on children

Domestic violence has a very lasting effect on children and it gives rise to child abuse as well. WHO report of ‘World Report on Violence and Health’ stated that among the child abuse cases, 40% of the cases were with a background of domestic violence. Children facing domestic violence at home are more prone to child abuse and it differs for children of different age group as well.

1. Physical Impact

There can be a physical impact on a child which may be caused due to physical beating or sexually abusing. Physical pain is the pain which remains for a long time and it can affect a child in many ways. Physical damage can be done to an unborn as well. If a woman is tortured during the pregnancy period, it is very much possible that even the child is affected by it.

2. Behavioural impact

A child may be affected severely on a behavioural level. A young child may suffer from numbness and being not talkative, bedwetting, crying a lot more than usual, thumb sucking or hiding in some space. Such acts can cause severe headaches to children and may result in irritating behaviour.

3.Emotional impact 

In cases of domestic violence, mental health is the one which is most affected, even for a child. A young child may face anxiety, sadness, loneliness and feel guilty for the violence that takes place before his/her own eyes. Terror and fear are common aspects which engulf a child stuck in a home with domestic violence.

 How to prevent domestic violence against women

1. Prevention and response

In response to the offence that has already been committed, the economic opportunity should be provided to a woman so that she can start a new life with economic stability. Many shelter homes and NGOs and even government programs are constituted in various countries to achieve this goal. 

2. Mentor

Mentoring is an important tool, both used for prevention as well as response. It is crucial to make children understand from teenage the complexities, laws and harms of domestic violence and this mentoring becomes very necessary for future purposes.

3. Organised community program

Community programs are very efficient as they are particular programs for this specific purpose only and thus it is easy to target the victims and help them. These community programs also help in providing jobs and shelter to the victims who have nowhere to go after leaving the house.


Analysing the various factors involved in domestic violence, it can be concluded that the major and deep-rooted problem of this issue is the mentality and attitude of superiority in major cases. This is the main reason why women are more prone to such crimes than men. The patriarchal set-up that has been there for centuries is still prevalent and can find its place in developed nations as well. However, with advancing times there are slight changes in this aspect and abuses against men can also be seen. This applies to same-sex marriages or partners as well. Therefore, it is important to inculcate the knowledge of laws and the attitude issues in the children from the beginning.