Domestic violence, also called personal or intimate partner violence, happens between individuals in a personal relationship. There are multiple forms of domestic abuse, including emotional, sexual, and physical abuse and threats of abuse. An abuser uses harsh, cruel words and conducts to restrain their partner. It can occur to males and females, but domestic violence is usually directed toward women. It can also happen in same-sex and heterosexual relationships.
It is stated that every 1 out of 3 women suffers from domestic violence, but unfortunately, only 1 out of 10 women file a complaint against it. In India, few women are educated about the laws for women's rights. Where some women know about their rights, they do not want to file a complaint to secure their family's reputation. In this article, we will discuss in detail what domestic violence is and what the rules are for protecting women's rights.
Types of Domestic Violence against women
Sadly, there are numerous ways in which women suffer from domestic violence.
Physical abuse: Domestic Violence Act includes any act that induces physical pain or risk to the victim's life is said to be physical abuse. Assault, illegal, and criminal force are all forms of physical abuse. Physical abuse is the most common and visible form of domestic violence against women.
Sexual abuse: As per the domestic violence Act, it is any sexual abuse that humiliates, stains, or can even disregard the grace of a woman.' Sexual abuse is like a sexual force that happens against women. Marital rape often comes within the scope of sexual abuse. Yet, marital rape isn't prohibited until the wife is below the age of 15 years.
Verbal and emotional abuse: Verbal abuse, also understood as emotional abuse, includes a range of words or behaviour used to control, threaten, and keep power and rule over someone. These include:
- Silent treatment
- Attempts to scare, isolate, and control.
- The verbal and emotional abuse directs to psychological abuse and corrupts a woman's feeling of self-worth.
Economic abuse: Economic abuse is a kind of abuse that involves controlling a partner or ex-partner's money and finances and the other things that money can buy. It is commonly denoted as restraining or intimidating to rob the victim and her children of using financial assets.
Effects of Domestic violence
Survivors of domestic violence may suffer long-term and complex consequences. It often takes a long time to accept living in a safe environment, specifically if one has suffered extreme violence for an extended period.
1. Health Issues
Domestic violence can cause several health issues like chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, menstrual cycle, fertility issues due to all the stress, and so on.
It can also cause post-traumatic stress disorder that gives rights to nightmares and other weird thoughts, depression, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts and attempts, and alcohol and drug abuse.
2. Financial Issues
Due to the abuse one suffers, one starts to stay away from everyone and keep themselves in isolation. Most of the time, the sufferer has very little money and few people to whom they can go if they need help. This is one of the most difficult challenges for domestic violence victims to overcome and the most powerful feature that can deter them from leaving their abusers.
3. Effects on Children
Domestic violence negatively affects children's lives when they witness or are victims. Common effects of domestic violence on children include depression, anxiety problems, and fearfulness. Another noteworthy result of suffering from domestic violence is that children feel they have the right to eternalize the same as they become adults. When the children grow up by looking at these things, they learn the same, and the abuse spreads from one generation to another.
COVID-19 and its impact on domestic violence:
Lockdown has brought in new challenges, which emphasized the increase in cases. As per a report by UN Women, an organization devoted to gender equality listed the following data:
- The pandemic has expanded women's suffering from domestic violence and hurt their feelings of safety.
- During the epidemic, violence against women substantially influenced women's mental health.
- Socioeconomic variables heavily influence women's experiences of violence.
- Regarding violence against women, age is no barrier.
- Women rarely seek outside assistance, particularly in domestic violence cases.
Instances of domestic violence further worsened the mental values of the pandemic. Many women lost their jobs during the pandemic, dependent on their vicious spouses. The pressure of jobs triggered samples of abusive behaviour.
Women's rights against domestic violence:
Considered a ruthless social offense, domestic violence in India holds one of the highest records of cases in the world. And thousands of people face this every day, primarily women, yet of their gender, caste, and region.
Domestic violence is generally used to describe the violence done in a marital relationship. One spouse, mostly the male, uses a pattern of attack and brutal acts to set power and control over the other spouse, typically female. As stated, commonly, such offenses of violence target women. And most women face this as a general family problem and keep themself quiet to save their family's reputation.
However, India's government keeps trying to safeguard women in every possible way. Many revisions in Criminal Law have been made to act against the pride and modesty of a woman.
The aggrieved party (victim) can avail of some rights guaranteed by the Act.
Some of them are:
Right to reside in a shared household.
In Section 17 of the Act, the court states that every woman in a domestic relationship shall have the right to reside in the shared household irrespective of whether she has any right, title or beneficial interest in same', which requires an expansive interpretation.
As per this, a victim of domestic violence have the right to reside in a shared home. The court presented the concepts of
- Constructive residency
- Non-existence of marital connection
To conclude that the wife is entitled to relief under the Act. It was observed that if a person is related to another person through kinship, marriage, or another type of relationship, it is not essential for that person to physically live with the other person at the time of the alleged Act of domestic violence.
It is stated in Para 32, 44-45 that- "If a woman is sought to be evicted or excluded from the shared household, she would be an unhappy person in which event Sub-Section (2) of Section 17 would apply."
It will protect all women irrespective of their age status or marital relationship.
Protection orders for victims' safety.
This right is to protect the rights of women insured under the Constitution. They are victims of violence of any kind arising within the family and related matters.
It is essential to access these rights as silence will only develop more problems. If you feel you are a victim of domestic violence, kindly raise your voice against it.
Maintenance or monetary relief.
Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 states that the Maintenance or monetary relief given must be adequate, fair, and consistent with the standard of living with which the women live. There is no formula to decide the amount of Maintenance. It could be presumed that if the husband is skilled in earning sufficient money to maintain his wife and children, he must give them Maintenance so they can live their life smoothly.
Custody of children.
The Indian legal system has always been visionary in protecting children's welfare and in settling matrimonial disputes between warring parents in a way that the children do not bear the brunt. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005 has been passed to protect the interest of children. It allows an aggrieved woman to apply to the court to obtain ordered custody of a child.
Child custody battles are always distressing, not only for the partners who resort to this kind of litigation, which is the result of domestic violence and their separation from each other but even for their child/children, who become the subject matter of this kind of dispute.
These minor children need the company of both the parents – the mother and the father. They require the love of both their parents. Not only does the separation of their parents from each other deprives these children of both parents, but when it results in a legal battle for custody in the courts, the situation becomes more toxic for these children for diverse reasons. That is why such cases which seriously impact these children are the most unhappy. The essential consideration while deciding such custody matters is to see where the welfare of children lies. The courts attach excessive importance to the interests of children. All other reviews are secondary. Under Section 21, the mother may even be denied custody of her child if the court considers her incapable of caring for the child alone. The courts avoid taking any judgment against the child's well-being.
Penalty for not following orders.
Section 31 in The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, the Penalty for breach of protection order by the respondent.
A breach of a protection order, or a provisional protection order, by the respondent shall be an offense under this Act. It should be punishable with the detention of either depiction for a term extending to one year, with a fine opening to twenty thousand rupees, or with both.
The offense under sub-section (1) must be tried by Magistrate who had passed the order. While making the charges under sub-section (1), the Magistrates may also frame charges as per section
- 498A of the IPC (45 of 1860)
- The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (28 of 1961)
To whom should one report a case of Domestic Violence?
According to the Domestic Violence Act, any woman who has faced abuse or has been a witness to the Act can come to the nearest Police Station, Protection Officer, and Service Provider. The court can assign an officer to execute its orders. The officer serves as a fling between victims of domestic violence and the system. One can also file a complaint straight to the Magistrate to get relief orders.
We already discussed the adverse effects of domestic violence on children's health. Children feel they have the right to eternalize the same as they become adults. When the children grow up by looking at these things, they learn the same, and the abuse spreads from one generation to another. Domestic Violence Act. Anyone who provides information about the offense committed to the concerned authorities is absolved of any civil/criminal liability
Post the protest, the court is instructed to do the hearing within three days of filing the complaint.
The court passes a protection order after confirming that the complaint is genuine.
Section 498-A of the IPC states complaint can also be registered that recognizes the violation of marital cruelty and states an illegal penalty
One victim of domestic violence can seek legal help from us online. We assure you of the best legal solutions to all your questions.
Laws that deal with domestic violence cases:
Numerous laws in India safeguard the safety of women or protect women from domestic violence from their spouse or their family.
Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act, 2005:
Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act, 2005, was passed by the Parliament of India to protect women from domestic violence. It restricts the abuse against women, all of which are defined by the Act. This Act protects women who are married to men and females who live in a live-in relationship with family members such as grandparents, mothers, and so on. Know more about Legal rights of Married women
The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 is a criminal code that penalizes the gift and acceptance of a Dowry. It prohibits the course of Dowry. If a person accepts, gives, or asks for a dowry, they can be jailed for a half year or fined up to 5,000 rupees.
Section 498A IPC
Section 498A IPC criminal law applies to partners or their relatives who are cruel towards a woman—as per Section 498A of the IPC act 1860, bothering women for Dowry by the husband or it's real-time is a criminal offense. Harassment can be both physical and mental. Yet, Marital Rape is not a criminal offense in India. As per this section, forced sex with one's wife might be "cruelty. "Section 498A protects a wide range of issues. It also contains any intentional conduct against a woman that forces her to execute suicide or places her life or health in danger.
Hope this article gives you a clear understanding of your rights that every woman must know and should know how to access. Make sure you remember that you deserve a life full of happiness, and you should not save your marriage just for the reputation. If you feel you are suffering from domestic violence, kindly take action. Your silence will only add to your problems.
If you need help framing a complaint or need to know about any queries about domestic violence or your rights, Rest the Case will provide you with all the necessary things.
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