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Domestic Violence means any kind of physical, sexual, emotional, or economic abuse against a woman which causes any kind of physical or mental injury to a woman. It also includes demand for dowry. (Section 3, Domestic Violence Act)
The definitions of physical, sexual, emotional, and economic abuse are explained below:
The following ingredients are necessary to constitute domestic violence:
The woman should be or have been in a domestic relationship* with her harasser at any point in time.
*Domestic Relationship means being related to the person through marriage, or blood(family members) or live-in, or adoption. (Section 2(f), Domestic Violence Act).
The woman should have lived in a shared household* with her harasser at any point in time.
* Shared Household means any house shared by the woman with her harasser.
The Domestic Violence Act protects each and every woman in India, irrespective of religion, marital status, or age.
Remember: The Domestic Violence Act is not only about domestic violence to married women. It covers domestic violence under all circumstances:
- From husband
- From husband’s family members
- From a woman’s own family members
- From a live-in partner
- From adoptive parents/family
The Domestic Violence Act helps women have a life free from any kind of violence or abuse at home. A woman is entitled to the following rights under the Domestic Violence Act:
Anyone can file a complaint against domestic violence:
A domestic violence complaint can be filed against anyone who harasses the woman. This can include:
Remember: The ingredients for domestic violence(i.e. domestic relationship and shared household) must exist. For details, see above.
To understand how to file a complaint against domestic violence, see Taking Action Against Violence At Home.
The court can pass orders to give any/all of the following reliefs to the woman:
The Act provides for two types of immediate reliefs which you can get:
The shelter home and medical facility should be affiliated to the government/should be recognised by the government. Only then the above law will apply to them. Each district/city will have its own shelter homes and medical facilities.
This amounts to domestic violence. You have every right to stay in your matrimonial house and no one can ask you to leave. You cannot be restricted access to resources, shared household, assets, properties, etc. For further information on your right to residence, see here Right to Reside in Matrimonial House
If your husband is threatening to dispose of your property then it is domestic violence and a complaint can be filed against him. For the procedure, see the Complaint section.
If you have good reason to believe anyone has undergone domestic violence, then you can file a police complaint on behalf of the victim of domestic violence. Make sure the victim will be okay with you filing the complaint on her behalf. For details on how to complain, see the Complaint section.
If your husband’s family is pressuring you for a male child, it will be considered domestic violence. You can file a complaint against it, see the Complaint section.
If your live-in boyfriend commits any kind of domestic violence against you, you can file a complaint against him. See the Complaint section.
To prove domestic violence in court, it is important that you collect evidence each time there is an incidence of violence. How you can collect evidence:
Remember: File a complaint with the police as soon as any incident occurs, so that they can take fast action and you can prove the incident more easily. In your police complaint, you do not need to write the history of all incidences of domestic violence (if they have been happening over a while)- it is better to do this in court. The most recent incident is enough for the police complaint.
Please note: This information has been made available to you for your benefit on an ‘as is’ basis, and is only for your information. It does not constitute legal advice and cannot substitute professional legal advice. Our disclaimer policy can be viewed here ( disclaimer policy)