Issue of domestic violence against women

Issue of domestic violence against women


Recently, the Delhi High Court highlighted the universal applicability of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005, emphasizing the need for comprehensive legal protections for all women, irrespective of their background.

GS-02 (Polity)

What is the Issue?

  • Domestic violence against women happen in various forms including physical, emotional, sexual, and economic, perpetrated within intimate relationships or family settings.
  • Despite legislative measures aimed at curbing such violence, it still continues to happen, posing significant threats to the safety, well-being, and autonomy of women across the country.

Consequences of Domestic Violence:

  • Physical and psychological trauma: Victims often suffer from physical injuries, mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), resulting in long-term emotional scars and diminished quality of life.
  • Socioeconomic ramifications: Domestic violence can disrupt victims’ education, employment opportunities, and financial stability, trapping them in cycles of poverty and dependency.
  • Inter-generational impact: Children exposed to domestic violence are more likely to experience adverse outcomes, including behavioral problems, poor academic performance, and perpetuation of violence in their own relationships later in life.
  • Erosion of social fabric: Domestic violence undermines trust, cohesion, and solidarity within families and communities, perpetuating cycles of violence and perpetuating gender inequalities.

Factors Contributing to Domestic Violence:

  • Lack of Awareness: Limited understanding of women’s rights, coupled with inadequate awareness of available support services and legal protections, impedes victims’ ability to seek help and escape abusive situations.
  • Social Issues: The persistence of dowry-related practices fuels domestic violence, with women often facing harassment and abuse when dowry demands are not met.
  • Economic problems: Poverty, unemployment, and economic insecurity increase tensions within households, escalating the risk of violence against women.
  • Gender Disparity: Deep-rooted gender inequalities, reinforced by cultural norms and patriarchal attitudes, perpetuate notions of male dominance and female subordination, creating fertile ground for violence and abuse.
  • Sociocultural practices: Traditional gender roles and expectations normalize male aggression and control over women, perpetuating cycles of abuse and victim-blaming.
  • Other Issues: Untreated mental health disorders, such as depression and personality  disorders, contribute to volatile behavior and exacerbate conflicts within relationships. Alcohol and drug misuse exacerbate violent behavior, impairing judgment and exacerbating conflicts within relationships.

Legal Frameworks Addressing Domestic Violence in India:

  • Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (PWDVA): Provides comprehensive legal protections against domestic violence, encompassing physical, emotional, sexual, and economic abuse.
  • Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Section 498A): Criminalizes cruelty by husbands and relatives towards women, addressing acts of harassment, dowry-related violence, and torture.
  • Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961: Prohibits the giving or receiving of dowry, addressing dowry-related offenses and violence against women.
  • Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 (Section 354A): Amends the IPC to include new offenses related to sexual harassment, relevant in cases of domestic violence.
  • Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015: Protects children’s rights and welfare, particularly relevant when children are victims of domestic violence.
  • National Commission for Women Act, 1990: Establishes the National Commission for Women (NCW) to safeguard women’s rights and address gender-based violence.
  • The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006: Aims to prevent child marriages and address domestic violence arising from such unions.

Suggested Measures:

  • Strengthen implementation and enforcement of existing laws to ensure swift justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators.
  • Enhance awareness and education initiatives to promote gender equality, challenge patriarchal norms, and empower women to assert their rights.
  • Expand access to support services, including shelters, counseling, and legal aid, to facilitate victims’ recovery and rehabilitation.
  • Foster collaboration between government agencies, civil society organizations, and community stakeholders to coordinate responses and provide holistic support to survivors.
  • Invest in research and data collection to better understand the root causes and dynamics of domestic violence and inform evidence-based policy and programmatic interventions.
  • Address systemic issues such as poverty, unemployment, and inadequate social protection to mitigate the risk factors associated with domestic violence.
  • Promote community-based interventions and social mobilization efforts to challenge attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate gender-based violence and promote healthy, equitable relationships.