What is domestic abuse?
Domestic Abuse or Domestic Violence are the terms given to the harassment, violence or unacceptable behavior by the husband on his wife in the house. Although, these are the exclusive terms which also involves violence by the family members.
Generally, the domestic abuse occurs more in the poor and uneducated society where the patriarchal approach is the mindset of the people which develops a narrow thinking. In todays world where women are moving head to head in each and every field of work along with sports and other activities, it is evident to mention that domestic abuse has no place in the society and must be eradicated to the fullest.
Not only men, but the women have to change their thinking and oppose these kinds of acts even if they witness it in the society. According to the survey of the DHS program, it was found out that women at large accept domestic violence as a part of their married life which given an open permit to the better half to indulge in this.
Impact on the children
Domestic Violence not only affects the married couple but also affects their children in various ways. India is a Country which is pacing towards the trend of nuclear families wherein only 3-4 members live together and when any dispute arises, it tends to affect all of them irrespective of their age and role in the family.
Various ways in which, the children of the family are affected are as follows:
- Firstly, children being in the growing age tends to learn what they see and observing the domestic violence in any form definitely impacts the psychological growth of the child.
- Secondly, it creates a risk of developing mental and physical problems as the child is exposed to an unhealthy environment in his tender age.
- Also, it has a long-term impact in the child as he/she would be unable to adjust in the society, will have difficulty in making friends, etc.
- At a much greater risk are the sensitive children who in some cases, even accept the risk of domestic abuse when it comes to their marriage because they become used to see and feel this behavior.
It is very important to make sure that the children are not exposed to this kind of activities and even if they have to face such situations, proper counselling is done to make sure that their mental and physical health remains intact.
Laws in India
Various laws have been introduced as well as amended to protect the women against domestic violence which includes-
Indian Penal Code Amendment in 1983
Under this amendment, Section-498A was added in IPC which states that if the husband or his relatives subjects a woman to cruelty, it will be considered as a punishable offence.
The term Cruelty includes physical abuse, mental torture, locking in the house, forced sexual contact etc.
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
This Act was enacted a year later i.e. in 2006 and was the first specific statute enacted to control the incidents of domestic violence. It contains detailed and comprehensive provisions for the protection of women and the remedies that are available to them.
Also, in order to spread awareness amongst the general public, the NGOs were given permission to organize functions and seminars for public welfare.
The Criminal Law Amendment, 2013
After the Nirbhaya Incident, the Verma committee gave a report suggesting various amendments in order to add new offences under the Indian Criminal System. Acid Attack, disrobing a woman and many more crimes were introduced.
Although, it does not talk about the concept of marital rape neither provide any punishment for the same.
The establishment of CAW (Crime Against Women) Cells is another initiative by the government to protect the rights of the women specially the victims of domestic violence. They can visit these cells and discuss their problems with the officers in charge.
The High Courts of India have time and again given judgments on the various aspects of domestic violence which are discussed below:
- Binita Das Vs. Uttam Kumar– In this case, the maintenance aspect was taking into account by the court and it was held that the interim maintenance of the women cannot be stooped on the grounds that she has the working capacity. If her rights are being violated, she must be given maintenance by the husband.
- Kuldeep Singh Vs. Rekha – In this case, the court interpreted the meaning of domestic household and who can be prosecuted under the DV Act of 2005. The court held that “if the wife and husband leave the share households to establish their own household, the domestic relationship comes to an end in respect of parents and therefore complaint under DV Act cannot be maintained against them.”
- Sadhana Vs. Hemant – In this case, the Bombay High Court held that if a couple has been divorced, the domestic relationship between them cease to exist and the wife cannot take protection under the Domestic Violence Act. This creates a balance and the laws are not misused.
Domestic Abuse can be considered as a sin to the society and the sacred marriages that are performed in India. It has a great impact on the children which ultimately does an irreparable loss to the family.
Stricter laws have to be implemented in order to set some ground rules and eradicate this problem from the society. Awareness would be the key to prevent domestic abuse and it is the duty of every citizen to take care of the same.
“The views of the authors are personal“
Frequently asked questions
Briefly describe the laws made by the U.S. with regard to domestic abuse?
A. In the United States, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) have been enacted in the year 1994, 2000 and in 2005. These laws have been specifically signed by the President to reduce the cases of domestic violence, sexual assaults and violence against women.
These laws have a significant effect on the cases of Domestic abuse and have helped in the reduction of these cases.
Define Domestic Relationship according to the DV Act, 2005?
A. Section 2(f) of the DV Act defines Domestic Relationship. It states that “domestic relationship” means a relationship between two persons who live or have, at any point of time, lived together in a shared household, when they are related by consanguinity, marriage, or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are family members living together as a joint family.”
What are the duties of the government in order to spread awareness and control the incidents of Domestic Abuse?
A. The Central Government and every State Government according to Section- 11 shall take all measures to ensure that-
(a) The provisions of this Act are given wide publicity through public media including the television, radio and the print media at regular intervals.
(b) The Central Government and State Government officers including the police officers and the members of the judicial services are given periodic sensitization and awareness training on the issues.
(c) Effective co-ordination between the services provided by concerned Ministries and Departments dealing with law, home affairs including law and order, health and human resources to address issues of domestic violence is established.
(d) Protocols for the various Ministries concerned with the delivery of services to women under this Act including the courts are prepared and put in place.