India has had a long history with respect to violence against women. The truth may be bitter but the fact remains. Domestic Violence stands to be the most common form of violence against women and this may seem to be an obvious outcome of the patriarchal values embedded from the very start, the law is stubborn against accepting such reasons and actions. Any legal system evolves in accordance with the changes in the focused society and hence the laws protecting women in India take a strict approach towards actions contravening them. Despite these measures, the news contains plenty disturbing cases of the same happening. The problem lies due to the unawareness of these laws that exist to protect women from the evil of domestic violence.
Know the law:
Until 2005 the only provision that existed in law against violence towards women within the domestic bounds was Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code which dealt with "Cruelty by husband or relatives of husband".
The government enacted the major Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act in 2005 to overcome the major deficiencies and give defined meaning to various forms and acts of violence against women including sexual, economic, mental violence.
Section 3 of the Act talks about what can be included as domestic violence. The definition has been made more holistic to help even the weakest section of women.
• It includes threats, harassment, abuse, harm, and injuries.
• Additionally, different forms of violence are included like- physical abuse, mental abuse, economic abuse, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse.
• Domestic violence complaint can be filed against any person with whom the victim has a domestic relationship.
• The act defines domestic relationship as any relationship arising after living together in shared household. This includes blood relations, marital relations, live-in relationship, adoptive relations, and in families living jointly.
Punishment and remedies:
• The punishments against violence against women can be both civil i.e. monetary as well as criminal i.e. prison terms.
• Apart from this there are various aids to help and protect women like counselling, protection officers, restraining orders, shelter homes, monetary relief and children custody as well.
It is very important to recognize domestic violence in its various forms as early as possible and seek the right help. I have been dealing with such cases for a period of 2 decades and hence am sufficiently equipped with recognizing your problems and advocating the legal remedy for them.