Domestic Violence Helpline Numbers, Counselling and How to Report Cases

This article has been written by Oishika Banerji of Amity Law School, Kolkata. This article provides a detailed analysis of domestic violence helpline numbers, counselling and how to report such related cases smoothly. 

This article has been published by Sneha Mahawar.

Introduction 

Domestic violence is defined in a way that is related to or overlaps with two other concepts, namely, violence against women and domestic violence or inter-family violence. As women are overrepresented in domestic violence from a victimological standpoint, the factors relating to violence against women take precedence in official discourses. According to the Beijing Platform for Action, which was adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, violence against women is defined as “any act of violence based on gender difference that results or may result in physical, sexual, or psychological injury or suffering for women, including threats related to such acts, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether in public or private life.” This article aims to serve its readers as a self-help guide thereby providing helpline numbers, the process of reporting cases, laws available as safeguards, the possible consequences of filing a domestic violence case and the immense role of the counsellor in restoring mental peace and physical well being. 

What is domestic violence

Domestic abuse, often known as “domestic violence” or “intimate partner violence,” is a pattern of conduct intended to establish or retain power and control over an intimate partner in any relationship. Abuse is defined as physical, sexual, emotional, financial, or psychological acts or threats against another individual. Any behaviour that frightens, intimidates, terrorises, manipulates, hurts, humiliates, blames, injures, or wounds someone falls under this category. Anyone of any colour, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender can be a victim of domestic violence. It can occur within a range of relationships including couples who are married, living together or dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

Domestic violence has specific characteristics that distinguish it from other sorts of violence that occur accidentally or in other situations, as well as a unique dynamics or manifestation cycle that is determined by the type of relationship between the victim and the offender. It is a major phenomenon that affects women primarily, and is a communitarian, social, and public health issue. The characteristics are:

  1. The instrumental character: The aggressor exerts control over the victim, and this conduct becomes functional and sustains if the desired outcome is achieved.
  2. The deliberate character: It is generated with the goal to control and dominate, to retain power, an intention that the doer does not admit but can be identified by the effects.
  3. The acquired character: Violence is learned, not intrinsic.

Terms related to domestic violence that you must know

  1. Survivor: This term is referred to by counsellors to address a person who has suffered or lived through domestic violence. This term is used as a better alternative of the word ‘victim’ so as to offer a liberating atmosphere for the aggrieved party to open up before the counsellor freely.  
  2. Perpetrator: The person who is committing the abuse is referred to as the perpetrator. 
  3. Counselling: Counselling can be referred to as a structured conversation between two or more people that aim to assist one of the participants to work through the problems he or she is facing or encountering in his or her personal life. 
  4. Empowerment: Empowerment can be best defined as the process by which an individual gains inner strength to combat victimisation. 

Types of domestic violence

Physical and sexual assaults, as well as threats to conduct them, are the most visible types of domestic abuse and violence, and they are frequently the activities that alert others to the situation. However, when the abuser’s habitual use of other abusive behaviours is reinforced by one or more instances of physical violence, a bigger system of abuse emerges. Physical assaults may only happen once or twice, but they induce dread of future violent attacks and allow the abuser to dominate the victim’s life and surroundings. The Power & Control wheel is a particularly useful tool for comprehending an abuser’s entire pattern of abusive and violent actions, which he or she employs to create and retain control over his or her spouse or any other person.

Emotional abuse

Constant criticism, disparaging one’s talents, name-calling or other verbal abuse, harming a spouse’s connection with the children or refusing to let a partner visit friends and relatives are all examples of emotional abuse. You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your partner:

  1. Calls you names, insults you and criticises you all the time.
  2. Acts jealous or possessive because your partner doesn’t trust you.
  3. Attempts to cut you off from your family or friends.
  4. They keep track of where you go, who you call, and how you spend your time.
  5. They don’t want you to go to work.
  6. Controls or refuses to share financial resources.
  7. Withholds affection as a kind of punishment.
  8. It is expected of you to get permission from your partner.
  9. Threatens to hurt you, your children, your family or your pets.
  10. Humiliates you in every way possible.

Physical abuse 

Hitting, kicking, burning, grasping, squeezing, shoving, slapping, hair-pulling, biting, withholding medical treatment or forcing to drink and/or use drugs, or employing other physical force are all examples of physical abuse. You may be in a physically abusive relationship if your partner:

  1. When enraged, causes damage to property (throws objects, punches walls, kicks doors, etc.).
  2. You are pushed, slapped, bit, kicked, or choked.
  3. Leaves you in a risky or unfamiliar environment.
  4. By driving carelessly, your partner scares you.
  5. Threatens or harms you with a weapon.
  6. You are compelled to leave your house.
  7. Keeps you trapped at home or prevents you from escaping.
  8. Stops you from calling the cops or seeking medical help.
  9. Your partner tries to harm your children.
  10. In sexual situations, physical force is used.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing a partner to take part in a sex act when the partner does not consent. You may be in a sexually abusive relationship if your partner:

  1. Accuses you of cheating.
  2. Your partner wants you to dress in a sexually suggestive manner.
  3. Insults you sexually or refers to you as a sexual object.
  4. Has pushed or tricked you into having sex or engaging in sexual activities.
  5. During intercourse, your partner holds you down.
  6. When you are ill, exhausted, or beaten, your partner demands sex.
  7. During intercourse, your partner hurts you with weapons or items. 
  8. Forces you to be involved sexually with other people.
  9. Ignores your sex-related sensations.

Psychological abuse 

Intimidation, threats of physical damage to self, partner, or children, destruction of pets and property, “mind games,” or forced isolation from friends, family, school, and/or employment are all examples of psychological abuse.

Stalking

Stalking is defined as any pattern of action that is meant to harass, irritate, or intimidate the victim and serves no legitimate purpose. Repeated phone calls, unwanted letters or presents in the mail, and monitoring at work, home, and other areas that the victim is known to frequent are all examples of stalking activities. In most cases, stalking becomes more serious. This offence comes under psychological abuse as often one partner stalks the other on grounds of trust issues thereby leading to troubles in their relationship. 

Financial or economic abuse 

Financial or economic abuse include keeping entire control over financial resources, restricting access to money, and/or limiting attendance at school or work in order to make or attempt to make a person financially dependent.

Common queries surrounding domestic violence 

You being a reader of this article can have several queries surrounding the subject matter of domestic violence. Many of such queries have been discussed in detail in this article. Under this heading, some of the common questions related to domestic violence have been addressed. 

Who can experience domestic violence

The answer to this question is anyone can experience domestic violence. 

For a more detailed answer to this question, you can refer to the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Hiral P. Harsora and Ors. v. Kusum Narottamdas Harsola  (2016) in which the Court opined the following:

  1. The aggrieved woman can make a complaint about domestic abuse under the Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act of 2005 against anyone.
  2. Under the Act of 2005, an aggrieved wife or female residing in a live-in relationship can lodge a complaint against a relative of the husband or male partner.
  3. If the aggrieved party is not a woman, the individual might file a complaint under the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Does domestic violence happen in gay/lesbian/bisexual relationships

Yes, domestic violence can happen in gay/lesbian/bisexual relationships as well. A transwoman is covered by many of the protections given to women under the criminal law as per a Delhi High Court judgment. 

How common is domestic violence in India

In India, domestic violence is deeply rooted and commonly practised. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 is used in the bulk of the 4.05 lakh instances involving crimes against women. One in three women in India is likely to have been subjected to intimate partner violence of a physical, emotional, or sexual nature. 

What you should not do to a victim of domestic abuse

While there is no right or wrong way to assist a domestic abuse victim, you should avoid doing anything that could exacerbate the situation. Here are some ‘don’ts’ to stay away from:

  1. Assault the abuser. Concentrate on the conduct rather than the personality.
  2. Blaming the victim is precisely what the abuser does.
  3. Undervalue the threat to both the victim and yourself.
  4. Any assistance that you promise but don’t deliver is a waste of time.
  5. Support on a conditional basis.
  6. Provoke the abuser in whatever way you can.
  7. Apply pressure on the victim.
  8. Give up easily on the victim and not be patient if they don’t want to open up right away.
  9. Make things as tough as possible for the victim.

Can men also experience domestic violence

Yes, men can also experience domestic violence. The criminal law on assault is available for men. However, since they are not as category victims of specific and widespread historic discrimination no special legislation exists to protect them against domestic abuse, although, the same is suggestive on the part of the legislatures owing to social progress. The sexual assault of both boys and girls is covered under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012

When should you call the police for your friend who’s a victim of domestic violence

  1. If you suspect that there is active violence, dial 100 right away. 
  2. Call the cops if you hear or see someone being physically abused. The most efficient strategy to remove the immediate risk to the victim and their children is to call the police. 
  3. There are no circumstances under which children should be exposed to violence. Take whatever steps are required to guarantee their safety, even if it involves going against the victim’s or abuser’s desires. Calling child protective services is not the problem, rather it is part of the solution in actively aggressive circumstances.

Recognising the signs of domestic abuse

Recognising the signs of domestic abuse is necessary in order to deal with the same and resolve it rationally. The signs of domestic abuse can be categorised into two broad heads, namely, what your partner does and what you feel because of your partner’s actions. 

Actions of partners contributing to domestic abuse 

  1. Embarrass or make fun of you in front of your friends, family or relatives?
  2. Tell you that you are nothing without them?
  3. Treat you roughly, grab, push, pinch, shove or hit you?
  4. Put down your accomplishments?
  5. Make you feel like you are unable to make decisions?
  6. Call you several times a night or show up to make sure you are where you said you would be?
  7. Blame you for how they feel or act?
  8. Pressure you sexually for things you aren’t ready for?
  9. Use intimidation or threats to gain compliance?
  10. Use drugs or alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you?
  11. Try to keep you from leaving after a fight or leave you somewhere after a fight to “teach you a lesson”?
  12. Make you feel like there is “no way out” of the relationship?
  13. Prevent you from doing things you want to do like spending time with friends or family?

Common feelings as a result of partner’s abusive actions

  1. Do you ever become worried about how your spouse may act?,
  2. Make excuses for your partner’s behaviour in front of other people all the time?
  3. Do you believe that if you change anything about yourself, you might be able to connect well with your spouse?
  4. Try not to do anything that can generate a squabble or enrage your partner?
  5. Do you always do what your partner wants rather than what you want?
  6. Stay with your partner because you are afraid of what your partner would do if you broke up?

If any of these things are happening in your relationship, talk to someone. Without help, the abuse will continue. Making that first call to seek help is a courageous step.

Domestic violence laws in India

Knowing your rights alongside duties is extremely important for raising your voice against domestic violence. An overview of laws governing the offence of domestic violence in India has been discussed hereunder. 

The Indian Penal Code, 1860

  1. Section 354CThe provision deals with the offence of voyeurism where a man watches or captures the image of a woman engaging in a private act in circumstances where she would usually have the expectation of not being observed.
  2. Section 354DSection 354D of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with the offence of stalking. The offence involves following or monitoring a woman despite repeated disinterest on the part of the woman. 
  3. Section 498A: Section 498A is a non-bailable and a cognizable offence that involves subjecting a woman to cruelty by her husband or relative of her husband. Both mental and physical harassment of the woman is included under the ambit of this provision. 
  4. Section 509Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, was enacted to give general protection to women. The offence is cognizable, bailable, as well as non-compoundable which is triable by any Magistrate. In addition, a person might be sentenced to three years of simple imprisonment, as well as a fine.

Protection against Domestic Violence Act, 2005

  1. Section 3: Section 3 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 lays down the ingredients constituting domestic violence. Four types of domestic abuse have been provided under the provision, namely, physical, verbal, sexual and economic abuse. 
  2. Section 12 (1): Section 12 (1) of the 2005 Act provides that an aggrieved person or a Protection Officer or any person on behalf of the aggrieved person can present an application before the Magistrate seeking relief under the 2005 Act.
  3. Section 17: Section 17 of the 2005 Act guarantees that an aggrieved person has a right to reside in a shared household irrespective of whether she has any right, title or beneficial interest in the same. 
  4. Section 18: A protection order in favour of the aggrieved person after hearing both the parties to the domestic violence case can be passed by the Magistrate under Section 18 of the 2005 Act. 
  5. Section 19:  Magistrate can exercise the power vested on him or her under Section 19 to deliver a residence order that majorly aims to restrict and direct the respondent to carry out certain things that would be detrimental for the aggrieved person. 
  6. Section 20: The respondent can be directed to pay monetary reliefs to the aggrieved party by the Magistrate under Section 20 of the 2005 Act.
  7. Section 21: Section 21 of the 2005 Act authorises the Magistrate to deliver custodial orders for the child in concern or related to the domestic violence case before it. 
  8. Section 22: The ambit of compensation orders have been covered under Section 22 of the 2005 Act. 

Information Technology Act, 2000

  1. Section 66: Section 66 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 extends protection to electronic signature, passwords or any other unique identification feature of any person from being fraudulently or dishonestly used. 
  2. Section 66E: Section 354C of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 read with Section 66E of the 2000 Act lays down punishment for violation of privacy with an imprisonment of three years or a fine not exceeding two lakh rupees, or both. 
  3. Section 67: Section 67 of the 2000 Act can be invoked if your partner tries to emotionally abuse you by threatening to publish obscene information related to you in electronic form. 
  4. Section 67A: Punishment for a period of seven-year and a fine of rupees ten lakh can be imposed for publishing or transmitting material containing the sexually explicit acts, etc. in electronic form under Section 67A

What to do if you are being domestically abused

It is true that leaving behind an abusive relationship can be difficult, but a safety plan and some positive measures can help you survive through domestic violence until you get help for the same. Some of the measures have been provided hereunder:

  1. Find a safe friend or friends, as well as safe venues to visit. Create a code word that you may use with your friends, family, or neighbours to let them know you are in danger without letting the abuser know. Agree on a hidden spot where they can pick you up if feasible.
  2. Keep a backup phone with you at all times. If you need assistance, don’t use your house phone or a shared cell phone. It’s possible that your partner will be able to track down numbers. You can obtain a prepaid cellphone if you don’t already have one. Save the phone numbers of friends, relatives, and shelters in your phone. Even if your spouse snatches your phone, you will still be able to communicate with your loved ones or find refuge.
  3. If you have to go fast, make a list of everything you will need. The most important documents and money are likely to be the top priorities. Gather these goods and store them in a secure location where your spouse will not locate them. If you are in danger right now, leave without them. If you can hide an extra set of vehicle keys in case your partner takes your regular keys, you will be able to go.
  4. Ask your doctor how you or your children may receive extra medicine, glasses, hearing aids, or other medically essential goods which will be required when you leave your house where you lived with an abusive partner.
  5. For more information on obtaining a restraint order, contact your local Mahila thana or Protection Officer for Domestic Violence. If you require legal assistance but do not have the financial means to pay for it, your local Protection Officer or the police’s Crime Against Women’s Unit may be able to assist you in locating a lawyer who will work for free.
  6. As you gather information and plan, keep your internet security in mind. Use a public library computer or a friend’s computer or cellphone to download material. Otherwise, your spouse might be able to keep track of your plans. If you leave your relationship, try to take any proof of abuse or violence with you. This might involve your spouse sending you threatening notes. Copies of police and medical reports might be among them. It might contain photos of your injuries or property damage. On an external thumb drive, save copies of all paper and electronic documents.

Legal help for domestic violence

As you have already read through the laws that can be invoked if you file a domestic violence case and what those laws deal with, it is now necessary to know some technicalities and queries related to legal help for domestic violence in India. 

Domestic violence helpline numbers

Both national level and state level helpline numbers have been provided below.

National level 

  1. Women Helpline ( All India ) – Women In Distress: 1091.
  2. Women Helpline Domestic Abuse: 181.
  3. Police: 100.
  4. National Commission For Women (NCW) ( Domestic violence 24×7 helpline for Sexual Violence and harassment ): 7827170170.
  5. National Commission For Women (NCW): 011-26942369, 26944754.
  6. Delhi Commision For Women: 011-23378044 / 23378317 / 23370597.
  7. Outer Delhi Helpline: 011-27034873 , 27034874.
  8. Student / Child Helpline: 1098

State level 

National Commission for Women: 011-23237166, 23234918.

Delhi
  1. Delhi Commission for Women: 011-23379181, 23370597
  2. Delhi Women Protection Cell: 011-24673366/ 4156/ 7699.
Andhra Pradesh
  1. Andhra Pradesh – Hyderabad/Secunderabad police station: 040-27853508.
  2. Andhra Pradesh Women Protection cell: 040-23320539.
  3. Andhra Pradesh Women Commission: 0863-2329090.
  4. Hyderabad Women Police Station: 040-27852400/4852.
Arunachal Pradesh
  1. Arunachal Pradesh Women Commission ‘C’ Sector, Ita Nagar: 0360-2214567, 0360-2290544.
Assam
  1. Assam Women Helpline: 181, 9345215029, 0361-2521242.
  2. Assam Women Commission: 0361-2227888,2220150 ,0361-2220013.
Bihar 
  1. Bihar Women Helpline: 18003456247 / 0612-2320047 / 2214318.
  2. Bihar Women Commission (1 South, Bailey Road, Patna, Bihar): 0612- 2507800.
Chandigarh
  1. Chandigarh Women Police: 0172-2741900
Chhattisgarh
  1. Chhattisgarh Women Commission (Gaytri Bhawan,  Raipur, http://cgmahilaayog.com/, Email: complaint@cgmahilaayog.com): 0771-2429977, 4013189, 18002334299, 0771-4241400.
Goa
  1. Goa Women Helpline: 1091, 0832-2421208.
  2. Goa Women Commission: 0832-2421080. 
Gujarat
  1. State Women Commission Gujarat (http://www.scwgujarat.org/): 18002331111/ 079-23251604 , 079-23251613.
  2. Gujarat- Ahmedabad Women Group (https://www.awagindia.org/): 7926441214.
  3. Gujarat- Self Employed Women’s Association (http://www.sewa.org/): 079-25506477/ 25506444.
Haryana
  1. Haryana Women and Child Helpline: 0124-2335100.
  2. Helpline for women in distress: 9911599100.
  3. Haryana Women Commission (Bays No: 39-40, CADA Bhawan, Sec-4, Panchkula): 0172 – 2584039, 0172-2583639.
  4. Women and Child Development Department: 0172-256034.
Himachal Pradesh
  1. Himachal Pradesh Women Commission (http://hp.gov.in/hpwomencommission/Home.aspx): 9816077100
  2. H.P. State commission for Women: 0177-2622929
  3. Himrus Bhawan: 0177-2783607
  4. Himland, Shimla: 01892-228072
Maharashtra
  1. Mumbai Railway Police: 9833331111.
  2. Mumbai Police Women Helpline No: 022-22633333, 22620111.
  3. Maharashtra Women Commision (http://mscw.org.in/) ( Gruha Nirman Bhawan Mhada Bldg, Kalanagar, Bandra): 07477722424/ 022-26592707.
  4. Maharashtra Women Helpline: 022-26111103, 1298, 103.
  5. Majlis-Maharashtra: 022-26661252 / 26662394.
  6. Navi Mumbai Police Station: 022-27580255.
Punjab
  1. Women Helpline Punjab: 1091/ 112.
  2. Women Helpline Amritsar City Only: 9781101091.
  3. Punjab Women Commission SCO No:-57,58,59 Sector-17-C, Chandigarh: 0172-2712607/ 0172-2783607.
  4. Punjab Samvad (NGO): 0172- 2546389, 2700109, 276000114.
Tamil Nadu
  1. Tamil Nadu Women Helpline: 044-28592750.
  2. State Commission for Women (http://www.tn.gov.in/detail_contact/5170/5/): 044-28551155.
Tripura
  1. Tripura Commission for Women (H.G. Basak Road, Melarmath, Agartala, West Tripura) (http://tcw.nic.in/): 0381-2323355, 2322912
Rajasthan
  1. Rajasthan Nirbhaya Helpline: 1800-1200-020.
  2. Rajasthan Women Commission: 0141-2779001-4.
  3. Rajasthan Women Helpline: 0141-2744000.
  4. Jodhpur Women Helpline: 0291-2012112. 
Karnataka
  1. Bangalore Women Police: 080-22943225.
  2. Karnataka Women Police: 0821-2418400.
  3. Karnataka Women Commission (1st Floor, Karnataka Housing Board Building, Cauvery Bhawan, K.G. Marg, Bangalore-560 009): 080-22100435 / 22862368, 080-2216485.
  4. Mysore Women Police: 0821-2418110 / 2418410.
Madhya Pradesh
  1. Madhya Pradesh Women Commission (http://www.mpswc.nic.in/contact.html): 0755-2661813, 2661802, 2661806, 2661808, 1800-233-6112.
  2. Madhya Pradesh Mahila thana: 0731-2434999.
Kerala
  1. Kerala Women Police Helpline (Trivandrum): 9995399953.
  2. Kerala Women’s Commission: 0471-2322590, 2320509, 2337589, 2339878, 2339882.
  3. State Vanitha Cell: 0471-2338100.
  4. Women Cell, Kollam: 0474-2742376.
  5. Women Cell, Kochi: 0484-2396730
Uttar Pradesh
  1. Uttar Pradesh Women Commission (http://mahilaayog.up.nic.in/): 0522-2306403 , 18001805220, 6306511708.
  2. Uttar Pradesh Women Helpline: 1090 / 112.
West Bengal
  1. West Bengal Women Commission (Salt Lake City, Kolkata)
  1. Swayam – West Bengal NGO (https://www.swayam.info/):  033-24863367/ 3368/3357.
  2. West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR) (Child marriages and trafficking): 9830056006, 9836078780, Whatsapp: 9836300300.

How to report domestic violence cases

The victim, or someone on their behalf, can file a complaint using one of the options indicated below.

Police Station

The police will register a First Information Report (FIR) or Domestic Incident Report (DIR) or will direct the victim to a Protection Officer in charge of the area.

Protection Officer

A Protection Officer is the first point of contact for domestic violence cases in a district. A Protection Officer will help the victim file a DIR and file a case in court.

National Commission for Women (NCW)

Domestic violence, dowry harassment, and sexual assault accusations are dealt by the NCW. NCW will assist local police in monitoring and expediting investigations, offer counselling/mediation as an alternative to going to court, and form an inquiry committee that conducts on-the-spot investigations, interviews witnesses, collects evidence, and submits a report to NCW with recommendations regarding the complaint. A victim can also file a domestic abuse complaint through the NCW’s internet portal.

How safe is it to file a complaint against your husband

  1. By being scared of the consequences of filing a complaint against your husband over domestic violence, you cannot keep yourself or your children (if any) safe and secure. Therefore, it is important that you proceed with legal help with courage. 
  2. Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 is a strong weapon in the hands of women to save themselves from ruthless behaviour and actions of their husbands, provided the said provision is not misused by the wife or the partner. 
  3. Offence under Section 498A is cognizable which means that the police have the power to arrest without warrant or any other law according to the circumstances. It is non-bailable in nature which means that only the court has the power to grant bail. Therefore, it can be said that filing a complaint against your husband is safe provided you are fearless. 

How safe is it to file a complaint against your wife  

  1. The husband might bring a lawsuit against his wife for threatening and blackmailing him into filing a false case under Section 498A. When bringing a complaint against the wife, documentation proof and other details are required. 
  2. If the husband and his family are concerned about being arrested in a case under Section 498A, they should consider filing for anticipatory bail.
  3. In the event that the wife has already left the husband and the husband desires to continue living his life with her, he may file a petition under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
  4. The Supreme Court of India had ruled in Kusum Narottamdas Harsora and Mohammad Zakir v. Shabana (2017) that a husband can file a complaint against his wife under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005. In this case the Court had found adequate grounds to pursue the wife under Section 12 of the Act.

Will the abuser(s) get immediately arrested on filing a complaint

It is doubtful that the abuser(s) will be arrested right away after a report is filed. To prevent any abuse of the law, the Supreme Court has time and again issued rules for arrests in domestic violence cases. In circumstances when the victim has incurred serious injuries, an arrest might be initiated right away.

What is the punishment in India for domestic violence, in case injury has been caused

  1. As proceedings under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 are quasi-civil in nature, there are no penalties, but you can seek compensation for cruelty and medical costs.
  2. You must make a complaint under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and seek monetary relief under Section 20 of the same Act.
  3. You can submit a police complaint under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 at your local police station if you want to take a criminal action.
  4. If the offence is proven, your husband will be sentenced to prison for a period of up to three years, along with a fine.

The court procedure to address domestic violence complaints

  1. The victim will be required to make an application before the Magistrate, with the assistance of a lawyer, in which they will describe the kind of reliefs they seek from the court. Protection orders, residence orders, monetary relief instructions, a grant of compensation or damages, and interim orders are all possible reliefs that the victim can ask for. A victim can hire a lawyer, request assistance from their protection officer, or approach an NGO to assist them  in obtaining legal assistance.
  2. When a police officer, protection officer, service provider, or magistrate receives a complaint, they must advise the victim of all available remedies and legal rights.
  3. The victim would be required to divulge any previous or current cases between the parties under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 when submitting the complaint. The victim will also be expected to reveal whether or not a maintenance application has been filed and whether or not interim maintenance has been given to the victim as a result of the same.
  4. Within three days of the court’s receipt of the application, the Magistrate will set the first hearing date.
  5. All complaints must be addressed and resolved within 60 days, according to the Domestic Violence Act, 2005. If a party is offended by a Magistrate’s order, he or she may file an appeal against it.

Financial help for domestic violence survivors 

The majority of domestic violence survivors suffer after leaving their abusive partners because of their financial dependence on them. Scenarios turn worst for females in this case as many being homemakers have reliance on their partners for finance. But, because of this detriment, you should not be restricting yourself to remain in an abusive relationship and therefore, here are some convenient and possible ways of making money independently:

  1. Content writing
  2. Graphic designing 
  3. Content Management (Scheduling & Posting)
  4. Virtual Assistant
  5. Discord Server – creators & mods
  6. Audio Editing 
  7. Video Editing
  8. Transcription (to multiple languages)
  9. Paid Newsletters
  10. Affiliate Marketing
  11. Online Teaching.

These are some of the general ways in which you can earn money easily and with ground-level knowledge.

Emotional self-care for survivors of domestic violence 

  1. Self-care, or taking proactive actions to feel physically, emotionally, and psychologically well and comfortable, can help survivors cope with the repercussions of trauma such as sexual violence.
  2. In order to overcome the paralysis that accompanies trauma, leaving us feeling numb and frozen, it’s critical that we find at least one sort of physical outlet for the deep emotions of sadness, wrath, and hurt we are certain to feel in the aftermath of abuse and trauma.
  3. Art therapy is extremely beneficial to post-traumatic stress disorder patients because it allows them to develop new ways of expressing themselves that allows them to create rather than self-destruct.

Thus, to sum up, the five powerful self-care tips are provided hereunder:

  1. Have positive affirmations.
  2. Heal the mind through the body.
  3. Breathe and relax.
  4. Channel your pain into creativity.
  5. Ask for help.

How does counselling help in fighting domestic violence

The magnitude and severity of the repercussions of domestic violence necessitate the introduction of some specific help programmes for domestic violence victims. Counselling can provide individuals who have been victims of domestic violence with a greater awareness of their right to their own thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, as well as a growing sense of control over their own person, the opening of one’s mind, the desire for change, and the trust in one’s own decisions.

What does counselling involve

The counsellor must be appropriately trained with knowledge in the field of domestic abuse, and must demonstrate an interest in staying relevant on current issues. The counsellor may collaborate with other professionals with the client’s consent. When necessary, secondary counselling from skilled practitioners with considerable expertise of domestic violence is also asked for.

It is critical that the victim/client be informed of the following facts at the start of the counselling process:

  1. The victim/client be treated with dignity and respect.
  2. The victim/client will be heard and comprehended.
  3. The victim/client will be told about the resources available to them in the event of domestic violence, they will not be accused of violence, and their actions will be assessed in light of how they are affected by the abuse.
  4. The counsellor will convey to the client/victim the need of maintaining their privacy.
  5. The client’s safety is the most crucial consideration for the counsellor.
  6. In the sense that the counsellor will not treat their client as a victim of a single dysfunctional relationship, but as a pattern that affects many individuals in all social situations. The counsellor will help them comprehend their personal violence experience.
  7. The counsellor will be educating their clients on the consequences of violence in order to better comprehend the emotions they are encountering.
  8. The counsellor will address the issue of the children under their client’s care and safety, as well as the impact of violence on them.
  9. The counsellor will assist their client in identifying and evaluating potential solutions to the situation, as well as promote and respect their decisions.

How is counselling for male victims different from that of females

It generally appears that male-on-female domestic violence is more likely to result in major injury or death, whereas female-on-male domestic violence is more likely to result in male suicide. This is due to the fact that men are more inclined to physically abuse women and are more capable of doing so, but women are more likely to emotionally control and coerce men. Men are more inclined than women to use violence as a result of their greater stature, therefore if a man punches a woman, he is likely to cause more harm than if a woman attacks a man. Women, on the other hand, can and do utilise weapons to counteract men’s biological build. In domestic abuse situations, women are twice as likely to use a lethal weapon than men. Macchietto (1992) noted the necessity for therapists to be aware of the impact that culturally held preconceptions have on men’s expectations, limiting therapists’ ability to give greater support for both genders of victims.

Counselling of male victims of domestic violence

  1. Male victims are majorly silent: Counsellors have talked about how society and social conditioning encourage males to keep silent about being victims, which exacerbates the problem. The added strain of cultural expectations that males should be able to care for themselves was described as causing victims to dread being viewed as weak or less of a man if they confessed their victimisation.
  2. Males are not usually identified as victims: Counsellors said there was a lack of recognition and understanding of males as victims of domestic abuse in society, which had ramifications for counselling, especially in terms of recommending clients. Counsellors have time and again described their experiences working with clients who were afraid of not being believed that they were victims because they were male.
  3. Destruction of image is a common concern for male victims: Male clients are more apprehensive of male therapists because they are afraid of being pushed into their shame base, and they find it difficult to disclose their domestic issues to another male because of the concern of their image and personality as the male gender. This has generally evolved because of the social structure we are brought up in which teaches boys to avoid shedding tears like that of the girls so as to wear their gender as pride. 

List of counselling centres and helpline numbers  you can reach out to

  1. All India Women’s Conference
  • Emancipation, Education and Empowerment of Women, across 10 states
  • Website: http://www.aiwc.org.in/.
  • Contact Number: 011-43389100/ 011-43389101/ 011-43389102/ 011-43389103 .
  1. Sneha NGO 
  • If you or someone you know is a survivor or facing violence, there is help available.
  • Centre timings: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm.
  • Website: https://snehamumbai.org/.
  • Crisis Helpline:  98330 52684, 91675 35765.
  • One-Stop Crisis Centre at Kem Hospital:  022-24100511
  1. Jagori: 011-26692700.
  2. Saarthak: 011-26853846/ 26524061.
  3. Nari Raksha Samiti: 011-23973949.
  4. Lawyers Collective Women’s Rights (Domestic Violence cases): 011-24373993/ 24372923.
  5. Pratidhi (Legal help): 011-22527259.
  6. Vanitha Sahayavani: 100, 080-22943225, 080-229432.
  7. Tara Women Centre ( NGO Ashraya ): 080-25251929
  8.  Nava Karnataka Mahila Rakshana Vedike: 9490135167.
  9.  Abhayashrama: 080-22220834, 080-2212113.
  10.  Vimochana: 080- 25492781 /82 (https://www.vimochana.co.in/)
  11. The South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM): 080-25473922, (Timings : Monday to Friday:  9.30 am and 5.30 pm)
  12. Samaja Seva Samithi: 080-26600022 /9448945367.
  13. Shakti Shalini (N.G.O) (https://shaktishalini.org/): 011-24373737/ 011-24373736/ 10920.

10 NGOs helping women to fight for their rights in India

  1. Guria India: The technique adopted by Guria India is to concentrate on rescue and legal intervention. Due to the shame associated with sexual assault, it assists the victim with all aspects of their case, from filing a FIR to assisting them in gathering evidence. Guria attorneys assist victims in preparing for court. The NGO not only assists women in obtaining legal justice, but it also provides counselling and financial assistance to victims.
  2. Majlis Manch: Majlis Manch’s legal centre provides socio-legal support to victims of sexual assault through their programme ‘Rahat.’ The all-female team of lawyers and social workers meets with victims to explain the legal processes. They are also informed of all legal, public, and private programmes to which they have access.
  3. Sayodhya home for women in need: Sayodhya runs a short-stay house for women and young girls who are in difficulty, as well as a 24-hour telephone helpline. They assist women in obtaining legal justice in important circumstances by transporting them to women’s protection cells, where they explain the process and assist women in filing cases. The shelter collaborates closely with law enforcement and judicial officials to ensure that survivors have access to protection, entitlements, and other legal tools to help them find work and develop their skills.
  4. ActionAid India: ActionAid India is a full affiliate of ActionAid International and a member of a global federation. ActionAid’s Gauravi crisis centre is open 24 hours, seven days a week. Domestic and sexual violence victims of all ages, including minor boys, are served by the centre. Counselling, intervention, legal assistance, medical assistance, a shelter home, and social rehabilitation are all provided to the victims. Victims are not compelled to pursue legal action and are given all available options.
  5. Committee for Legal Aid to Poor: Acid attacks are among the most terrible and horrible crimes perpetrated against women. The Committee for Legal Aid to the Poor (CLAP) was established to assist victims of this heinous crime. CLAP assists victims by monitoring court processes to ensure that wrongdoers are punished harshly, providing legal assistance and assisting victims in obtaining government compensation, and rehabilitating survivors.
  6. International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care (PCVC): The International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care was founded in response to the demand for a support organisation for domestic violence victims and survivors. This women’s NGO offers a variety of services, including crisis management, legal advocacy, support, and resource assistance. PCVC established a national domestic violence platform to assist women who are victims of various forms of abuse.
  7. Shikshan Ane Samaj Kalyan Kendra: Shikshan Ane Samaj Kalyan Kendra is committed to assisting women in areas such as health, education, and empowerment. It provides workshops on the causes and effects of domestic violence and brings the subject to the attention of district officials and subordinate courts. They also encourage victims to come out and warn men from engaging in behaviours that would harm their wives.
  8. Prerana: Prerana is dedicated to the rescue, protection, and rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking. They collaborate with state governments to develop anti-human trafficking plans and strategies that will help victims be rescued and rehabilitated. They also help with legal proceedings to restore their rights. It also offers psychological assistance to survivors.
  9. Sakhya Women’s Guidance Cell: Sakhya Women’s Guidance Cell’s major goal is to achieve gender equality and gender justice by empowering women. Through education and awareness, they seek to give women more autonomy. The charity provides case counselling, referrals, legal aid, lodging, and rehabilitation to sexual abuse victims, as well as accompanying them to hospitals and legal institutions
  10. The Prajnya Trust: Since 2008, the Prajnya Trust has worked to eliminate gender and sex-based violence against women. This women’s NGO holds workshops, organises talks, offers legal assistance, and educates service providers who may come across situations of sexual abuse at work.

Child abuse : a counterpart of domestic abuse

Intimate partner violence and its connection to child maltreatment are receiving more attention in present times. China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, and the United States have all discovered a substantial link between these two types of violence, according to data from research conducted in these countries. Domestic violence in the family was shown to double the likelihood of child maltreatment in a recent research in India. Domestic violence in the home has been reported by 40% or more of known child abuse victims. In fact, because many organisations tasked with safeguarding children do not consistently gather statistics on other types of family violence, the link may be considerably greater.

To prevent prospective abuse and successfully deal with incidents of abuse and neglect that have occurred, prevention programmes and policies must directly address children, their caregivers, and the circumstances in which they live. Public health academics and practitioners may play a crucial role by leading and supporting the process, which will involve focused and coordinated efforts from a wide variety of sectors. The three ways in which domestic violence contribute to child abuse are provided hereunder.

Disregulation in cognitive and emotional systems

  1. Children who have been exposed to domestic abuse are more likely to face cognitive, psychological, and emotional difficulties. Several studies found that children who have been subjected to abuse had poorer levels of social competence than their peers of the same age group. 
  2. Dysregulation is defined as the inability to maintain normal functioning. For example, deficits in executive functioning, such as, organising, prioritising, and task completion in cognitive functioning. 
  3. Dysregulation in emotional functioning can manifest as difficulty sustaining friendships, a rise in dysfunctional peer connections, and loneliness.

Impact on behavioural systems : internalising behaviours and externalising behaviours

  1. Witnessing domestic violence plays a significant effect in a child’s behavioural functioning, according to the research. Family violence is a huge societal problem for individuals who witness violence and those who are physically assaulted, according to Lawson (2001), who examined prior data. The ramifications on children’s behaviour are discussed, as well as how the impacts are “likely to cause long-term intergenerational cycles of abuse if not remedied early.” 
  2. Aggression, hyperarousal, anti-social behaviours, fearfulness, withdrawn behaviours, avoidant behaviours, inhibited behaviours, and developmental regression are examples of behavioural systems in children who have been exposed to domestic violence versus those who have not.
  3. The attachment has an influence on both internalising and externalising behaviours. As a result of their exposure to domestic violence, children may become overprotective and display negative behaviours, both of which can produce relationship problems. Bullying may be connected to harmful attitudes toward violence as well.

Multi-level perspectives

  1. The two-person model: The two-person model can be described as the child and their caregiver, most often the mother. When the caregiver/mother is in conflict, it has an influence on the child’s development and behaviour.
  2. Broffenbrenner’s theory: Broffenbrenner’s theory describes how a child’s system impacts his or her development. The ecological systems theory of Bronfenbrenner views child development as a complex system of relationships influenced by several layers of the surrounding environment, ranging from intimate home and school settings to broad societal values, laws, and practises.
  3. Ecobiodevelopmental perspective: The ecobiodevelopmental approach is utilised to better understand how violence and trauma affect a child’s development. The framework takes into account the family’s cultural ideas and values, as well as the neighbourhood and community settings, family situations, and the child’s traits, which allows this framework to look at the child holistically. The framework is useful for comprehending the effects of violence on children, as well as how children will react depending on their neurological development.

How can you help someone who is being domestically abused

If you know or believe that someone you care about is a victim of domestic abuse, you may be unsure how to help. Don’t let your fear of saying anything inappropriate keep you from reaching out. Waiting for the correct words may prevent you from taking the chance to improve someone’s life. For many domestic violence victims, life may be lonely, isolating, and frightening. Reaching out and letting them know you’re there for them may sometimes be a huge comfort.

Make time for them 

If you decide to contact an abused victim, do it while you are calm. Getting engaged when people’s tempers are rising might be dangerous. Make sure you have enough time planned out in case the victim decides to speak up. You will not want to terminate the talk because you have another obligation if the individual decides to reveal years of bottled-up anxiety and fury.

Begin a conversation 

“I’m worried about you because…”, “I’m concerned about your safety…”, or “I’ve seen certain changes that concern me…” are all good ways to bring up the issue of domestic abuse thereby beginning a conversation. Perhaps you have seen the individual wearing extra garments to hide injuries or that he or she has been abnormally silent and reclusive. Both of these things might indicate that someone has been abused.

Make it clear to the person that whatever information you share will be kept private. Allow the conversation to flow naturally rather than forcing the person to open up. Take it easy and leisurely. Simply let the person know that you are there and willing to listen.

Listen to them  

If the person chooses to speak, listen without passing judgment, provide advice, or offer solutions. If you attentively listen, the individual will most likely tell you exactly what they require. Allow the speaker to speak for as long as they want. You can offer to clarify questions, but you should mostly let the person express their emotions and anxieties. You could be the first person with whom the victim has shared his or her secrets.

Learn the warning signs 

For a number of reasons, many people try to hide the violence, and recognising the warning signs of domestic abuse can help you aid them.

Physical signs that you should notice

  1. Black eyes.
  2. Busted lips.
  3. Red or purple marks on the neck.
  4. Sprained wrists.
  5. Bruises on the arms

Emotional signs that you might encounter

  1. Low self-esteem.
  2. Overly apologetic or meek.
  3. Fearful.
  4. Changes in sleeping or eating patterns.
  5. Anxious or on the edge.
  6. Substance abuse.
  7. Symptoms of depression.
  8. Loss of interest in once enjoyed activities and hobbies.
  9. Talking about suicide.

Behavioural signs that you can often come across

  1. Becoming withdrawn or distant.
  2. Cancelling appointments or meetings at the last minute.
  3. Being late often.
  4. Excessive privacy concerning their personal life.
  5. Isolating themselves from friends and family

Believe the victim

Because domestic violence is more about control than fury, the victim is sometimes the only one who sees the perpetrator’s ugly side. Others are frequently surprised to hear that someone they know is capable of violence. As a result, victims frequently assume that if they reported the abuse, no one would believe them. Believe the victim’s account and express your belief. Finally finding someone who understands their problems might provide a feeling of hope and comfort to a victim. Offer the victim these assurances:

  1. I believe you,
  2. This is not your fault,
  3. You don’t deserve this.

Try to validate the victim’s feelings

Victims may exhibit mixed emotions regarding their spouse and their predicament. These emotions can include:

  1. Anger and guilt.
  2. Both optimism and pessimism towards their partner.
  3. Fear as well as love for their partner.

If you really want to assist, you should support her sentiments by telling her that having contradictory views is quite normal. But it is also important that you state unequivocally that violence is not acceptable and that living in dread of being physically assaulted is not normal. Because they have no alternative models for relationships, some victims may not understand that their situation is unusual. They have gradually gotten acclimated to the cycle of violence. Tell the victim that good relationships do not include violence or abuse. Confirm to them, without passing judgement, that their circumstance is perilous and that you are worried for their safety.

Try to understand the reasons why the victim continues to live with their abusive partner

It’s difficult to comprehend why someone you care about might choose to remain in an abusive or toxic relationship. Here are a few reasons why breaking up is difficult:

  1. They are afraid of being hurt if they leave.
  2. They still adore their partner and are hopeful that things will improve.
  3. Their partner pledged to make a difference.
  4. The conviction that marriage is ‘for better or worse’ has prohibited them from breaking apart. 
  5. They believe it is their fault for the abuse.
  6. Children are the biggest form of weakness they have. Their welfare being paramount, they avoid broken relationships. 
  7. Lack of self-assurance.
  8. Fear of loneliness or isolation.
  9. Family and community pressure.
  10. Lack of resources (work, money, transportation) to support themselves.

Provide rationale and logical help to the victims of domestic abuse

After taking into account the issues and the sufferings of the survivor/victim of the domestic abuse you are assisting, never advise or suggest any help that will be detrimental or contravening to the laws of the land. Along with the rights of the survivor, let them know about the duties they owe towards their partner as well. Taking the law in hand will be dangerous for the survivor themselves. Therefore, always suggest rational and logical help to them instead of suggesting violence to fight the ongoing abuse. 

Offer specific support

Assist the victim in locating services and assistance. Look up contact information for shelters, social services, attorneys, counsellors, and support groups. If you have them, distribute domestic violence flyers or booklets.

You should also assist them in obtaining information on any legislation pertaining to protective orders/restraining orders and child custody. Don’t hesitate to help if the victim requests you to do anything particular. If you can’t, attempt to think of alternative methods to meet the requirement. 

Identify their advantages and strengths, and assist them in building and expanding on them so that they may find the drive to help themselves. The most essential thing is to let them know that you are always there for them. Simply inform them of the best way to contact you in the event that assistance is required. If feasible, volunteer to accompany you to the police station, court, or lawyer’s office for moral support.

Help the survivor/victim to form a safety plan to defend domestic violence

Assist the victim in developing a safety plan that they can use if the violence occurs again or if they want to escape the situation. Simply developing a plan can assist them in seeing whatever tasks are required and psychologically preparing to do them. Because victims who leave their abusive spouses are more likely to be harmed by them than those who stay, it is critical for them to have a specific safety plan in place before a crisis or when they decide to leave. Assist the victim in thinking through each phase of the safety plan, assessing the risks and advantages of each option, as well as strategies to mitigate them. Include the following items in your safety plan:

  1. A safe place in the event of an emergency or if they chose to leave the house.
  2. If they feel threatened, they have a ready-made excuse to quit.
  3. A code phrase is used to notify relatives or friends that assistance is required.
  4. An ‘escape bag’ containing cash, crucial papers (birth certificates, social security cards, etc.), keys, toiletries, and a change of clothes that may be quickly retrieved in an emergency.
  5. A list of emergency contacts, such as trustworthy relatives or friends, local shelters, and a hotline for domestic abuse

Conclusion 

Most legal systems in the early 1800s tacitly accepted wife-beating as a husband’s right, as part of his entitlement to control over his wife’s resources and services. In the late 1800s, the feminist movement shifted public opinion, and by the end of the century, most courts had ruled that husbands had no authority to ‘chastise’ their wives. However, few women had realistic options for assistance, and the majority of police departments did nothing to protect women. As we stand in the 21st century, domestic violence continues to grow as one of the heinous crimes affecting individuals irrespective of age and gender. Although there lies no solution to these growing issues except change in mentality and increased awareness, the need for raising a voice by those who are being suppressed must continue thereby turning out to be the strongest shield against such violence.

References 

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