Law Against Domestic Violence and Its Prevention

Law Against Domestic Violence

There are several domestic violence laws in India. The earliest law was the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 which made the act of giving and receiving dowry a crime. In an effort to bolster the 1961 law, two new sections, Section 498A and Section 304B were introduced into the Indian Penal Code in 1983 and 1986. The most recent legislation is the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA) 2005. The PWDVA, a civil law, includes physical, emotional, sexual, verbal, and economic abuse as domestic violence.

On 19 March 2013, the Indian Parliament passed a new law with the goal of more effectively protecting women from sexual violence in India. It came in the form of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, which further amends the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1973, the Indian Evidence Act of 1872, and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. The law makes stalking, voyeurism, acid attacks and forcibly disrobing a woman explicit crimes for the first time, provides capital punishment for rapes leading to death, and raises to 20 years from 10 the minimum sentence for gang rape and rapes committed by a police officer. 

Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act, 2005, this is an act of the Indian Parliament enacted to protect women from Domestic Violence. It prohibits a wide range of Physical, Sexual, Emotional & Economical abuse against women and all these are broadly defined under the Act. It provides security to women in a family from men in a family. The extent of the Act covers not only the protection of women who are married to men but also women who are in Live-in-relationship, just as family members including Grandmothers, Mothers, etc. A women has right to be liberated from any type of violence under this Act. Under this law, women can look for security against Domestic Violence, Financial Compensation, Right to live in their mutual house and they can get maintenance from their abuser in case they are living separated.

This law is to guarantee that women don’t get kicked out of their own house and can support themselves if they have been abused. It also ensure the protection of women from their abusers.

Section 498A of the IPC (Indian Penal Code), this is a Criminal Law, which applies to husbands or family members of husband who are merciless to women. Under Section 498A of the IPC, harassment for Dowry by the family members of the husband or by husband is recognized as a Crime. This harassment can be of any type either Physical or Mental. Despite the fact that Marital Rape isn’t considered as a Crime in India, forced sex with one’s wife can be viewed as Cruelty under this Section. Section 498A has a vast scope. It also includes any and all intentional behaviours against a women which force the women to attempt suicide or risk to life or grave injury or risk to limb or overall health. Here, health incorporates the physical and mental health of the women.

Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, this is a Criminal Law that punishes the giving and taking of Dowry. The tradition of dowry itself is banned under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. According to this law, gives, takes or even demands dowry, they can be imprisoned for a half year (i.e. for 6 months) or they can be fined upto Five Thousand Rupees.

Gender discrimination under Law, the domestic abuse laws are claimed to be discriminatory against men by anti-feminists. In particular, Section 498A, the act that criminalizes cruelty against women by husband and his relatives, has been used by anti-feminists in their arguments to justify removing any legal penalty against criminals. Men’s rights activists such as the “Save the family foundation” in India argue that the law is often misused by women. However, a 2012 report on Section 498A from the Government of India found that the empirical study did not establish any disproportionate misuse of Section 498A as compared to other criminal laws. Even though misuse of Section 498A was not established, more recently the Supreme Court came out with directives that every complaint received by the police under Section 498A must be referred to a Family Welfare Committee before the police can arrest the perpetrator.

More glaringly, the law only offers reliefs to women. Men in India cannot avail of a similar legal remedy to protect themselves from domestic violence from either men or women. For men, even a simple relief of having a male or female aggressor stay away from them (a restraining or protection order) is not afforded by the current law. But in 2016 this discrimination was removed by Supreme Court itself. The bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton F Nariman ruled on 6 October 2016 that this provision frustrated the objective of the legislation since “perpetrators and abettors of domestic violence” can be women too. The words “adult male” has been struck down from the domestic violence act. However this new definition still did not include men as victims and was later changed back to the original.

Prevention

  • Teach safe and healthy relationship skills

-Social-emotional learning programs for youth

– Healthy relationship programs for couples

  • Engage Influential adults and peers

– Men and boys as allies in prevention

– Bystander empowerment and education

-Family-based programs

  • Disrupt the developmental pathways toward partner violence

-Early childhood home visitation

– Preschool enrichment with family engagement

– Parenting skill and family relationship programs

– Treatment for at-risk children, youth, and families

  • Create protective environments

-Improve school climate and safety

-Improve organizational policies and workplace climate

– Modify the physical and social environments of neighborhoods

  • Strengthen economic supports for families

-Strengthen household financial security

-Strengthen work-family supports

  • Support survivors to increase safety and lessen harms

– Viction centered services

– Housing programs

– First responder and civil legal protections

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