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Domestic violence is undoubtedly a human rights issue and a serious deterrent to development. The phenomenon of domestic violence is widely prevalent but is largely invisible in the public domain at present. 

The enactment of Domestic Violence Act, 2005 is a step towards providing remedy and protection to domestic violence but its effectiveness depends on awareness among the victims who suffer from domestic violence in their day to day life.   Enactment gives the right to claim protection and assistance against domestic violence.  Such violence can be and may be broadly in the form of physical violence, mental violence, sexual violence, verbal & emotional violence and economic violence.

It is desirable and should be mandatory that every police post should display the name of the protection officer, telephone No. and address in its area so that victim may approach or seek the assistance from such protection officer.

 Domestic violence is not about occasional fights or arguments but an establishment of constant fear and apprehension of criminal assault and threats.  It is true that a woman can also be violent in the domestic sphere but such instances account for a very small percentage and it is usually the females who are subjected to acts of domestic violence by the males.   But the major drawback  witnessed and experienced in domestic violence cases is that despite promulgation of a law on domestic violence, there is serious lacunae in its implementation.  Women usually suffer in silence and do not come out to report.  The reason being; fear of loss of social prestige, efforts to save the relationship, lack of economic support, peer pressure and so on. The problem has various dimensions ranging from social, cultural, economic, legal, political mainly because of the inherent belief that ‘males are superior’ created because of a patriarchal society from the very beginning and also due to low  level of literacy, lack of economic independence acting like catalyst to the problem. 


The role of protection officers is very significant in inculcating confidence and courage in the victims. Section 8 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 empowers the Central Govt. to appoint protection officers in each district who are preferably women, entrusted with such powers and duties as considered necessary and conferred under this Act.  


The protection officers must ensure that the aggrieved person is provided with legal aid and safe shelter home wherever required and any breach of protection order / an interim protection order has to be reported in writing to the protection officer as provided under Domestic Violence Rules, 2006.  The Central Govt. is empowered to make these rules by virtue of section 37 of the Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and have to be complied with in order to carry out the provisions of this Act.


There is an increasing need to disseminate information on the existing law on domestic violence and its proper implementation by organizing and educating civil society to come together and address the issue positively and assist in tackling this most prevalent yet relatively hidden and ignored issue of domestic violence.

By Richa Dhawan, 

Advocate, Supreme Court of India

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Category Civil Law, Other Articles by - Richa Dhawan