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  • The denial of all financial or economic resources to which the harmed party is legally entitled is known as economic abuse.
  • Various factors contribute to economic abuse such as patriarchy, lack of education, lack of equal opportunities, social stigma, etc.
  • The legislators view monetary reliefs like maintenance and compensation as redressal measures under the Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act, 2005.


It appears that feminism has reached a dead end as the new century approaches. In addition to working for pay, most women still perform most household chores and caregiving at home. Although most males are aware of the injustice of women working second shifts, they are not interested in changing it. The dynamic interplay between control and fear is what propels patriarchy as a system and fosters oppression, aggressiveness, and competitiveness. Men are encouraged by patriarchy to view control as the best protection against humiliation and loss as well as the most reliable path to achieving their needs and desires. They also regard control as a means of achieving prestige, stability, and other benefits. 

Global data indicate that one in three women had at some point in their lives been victims of violence in an intimate relationship. Based on national polls that are currently accessible from both industrialized and developing nations, this is an average. There is, however, little statistical data regarding the true incidence of domestic violence in India. According to the scant research that is currently available, the percentage of Indian women who experience physical violence ranges from 22% to 60% of those surveyed. 

The literature often uses the phrases ‘economic abuse,’ ‘financial abuse,’ or ‘economic violence’ to designate circumstances in which men utilize strategies including abuse, deception, deceit, and manipulation in a close relationship to economically control women.


India is not an exception to the global problem of domestic violence. It functions as a methodical way to establish dominance and control inside the boundaries of a household, frequently leaving the victims traumatized, fearful, and injured physically or psychologically. Domestic violence can have many different causes, ranging from preserving power dynamics in partnerships to pursuing selfish goals at the expense of other people. Domestic violence, when it occurs in India, usually affects women, and is committed by husbands or other male family members. It's critical to recognize that anyone, regardless of gender, age, or sexual orientation, can be affected by domestic abuse. Domestic violence can be:

i.    Physical

ii.    Emotional

iii.    Sexual

iv.    Economic

v.    Psychological

In this article, we will learn more about the economic abuse faced by women.


It is often overlooked and overshadowed by physical and sexual abuse. However, it is as much toxic as any other abuse faced by women. This isn't unduly surprising as usual, considering that the most widely common forms of abuse against women, and kids, in standard society are in the physical and sexual notions that make it seem irrelevant. Economic abuse is connected with physical abuse, sexual abuse, and psychological abuse. 

Section 3 of the PWDV (Protection of Women from Domestic Violence) Act defines economic abuse as depriving the victim of all financial or economic resources to which they are legally entitled. The law acknowledges a restriction or prohibition on the continuous use of resources or amenities that the aggrieved woman is entitled to use. Furthermore, the definition of economic abuse also includes the selling of personal belongings, any alienation of immovable or mobile assets, valuables, or other property in which the wronged woman has a stake. In the Indian setting, economic abuse also raises associated concerns like dowry and dowry exploitation. According to the PWDV Act, courts have ruled that deprivation of money, economic resources, or dowry constitutes domestic violence.

Women are exposed to financial control and manipulative behaviour, which bring down their effectiveness and efficiency. It is a typical strategy used by the abusers to state power, exhibit their predominance, and keep up with monetary command over their partners in a personal relationship.

  • According to the Bombay High Court, denial of finances qualifies as economic abuse under the Domestic Violence Act. According to the Court, it is economic abuse when a widow in a joint family who is entitled to financial resources is denied them. The rationale outlined above was expressed in the case of Smt. Sapna vs. Shri Pravin Ishwar Bhai Patel & Ors. 


Financial abuse includes dominance over income, spending, ledgers, bills, and acquiring. Controlling access to and use of things like transportation and technology etc. This type of abuse rarely happens just by itself but constitutes a part of other forms of abuse such as physical and mental abuse. 

Abuse of this kind is meant to make one partner economically dependent and/or unstable, limiting their financial freedom. Without admittance to money and the things that money can provide, leaving an abuser and accessing safety is quite challenging. Anyone encountering this kind of abuse can be stuck in a relationship with the abuser, unfit to oppose the abuser's control and in fear of further abuse. As a result, financial safety bears out actual physical security. Numerous women are left with nothing — having no financial aid in any event, for basic things — and need to begin again without any economic security. Many survivors end up with a lot of debt and bad credit, which affects their long-term economic stability, and many of them can't keep saving money that gives them financial security due to the current living expenses one has to bear. Economic abuse can also affect the psychological balance of a woman who has to juggle with life to survive the turmoil caused by the abuser it can also pave the way to various social issues as well as one can be ostracised from society if left with no money.

In a patriarchal society like India, the important aspects of a family are mostly skewed towards men in the family, the men decide, direct philosophies, and control assets. Additionally, women in marriage are moulded to accept that economic abuse is in some way a part of the relationship. In a survey conducted in some of the states in India, it was ascertained that most of the marital complaints pertained to either physical or economic abuse. A Mumbai-based study found that 23% of women who had been married reported economic abuse either by their husband or another relative, and the normal type of economic abuse involves denial of property rights, not being entrusted with money and coercive appropriation of belongings. Surprisingly, employed and financially independent women are also prone to economic abuse.

Some are compelled to sacrifice their jobs for the sake of so-called 'familial values'. Many are prohibited from studying or working. As a result, women must turn to options such as legal remedies or, at times, bear the abuse silently for a variety of reasons, such as lack of support, a lack of knowledge of the law, or money to fight the case structures inside the family or society, stigma, fear, or disgrace.

  • According to the Prevention of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (PWDV Act) in the case of Nandita Sarkar vs Tilak Sarkar, depriving a woman of her Stridhan or any other financial or economic resources to which she is entitled would constitute domestic violence, according to the Calcutta High Court.


In India, there is a culture of shame and silence surrounding domestic abuse. In India, between 50–70% of women experience domestic abuse in some capacity; just 2% of victims report the incident to the authorities. Of those aged 15 to 19, 53% of girls and 57% of boys think it's okay to beat your wife. Suicide attempts have been made by 75% of Indian women who have reported domestic abuse. 

Domestic abuse can be addressed using tactics from government regulations and awareness programs despite these depressing statistics. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), was passed in 2005 and has prompted more women to speak out.

It has been determined that domestic violence against women is a societal priority. Effective awareness programs and campaigns can be extremely important in solving this problem. 

Primary preventive programs that target gender inequality and address the underlying causes of violence are crucial because violence against women is both a result of and a cause of gender imbalance and misogyny. Public health professionals must raise awareness by producing and distributing educational materials and creative audio-visual messages that portray girls and women in society in a good light. The urgent requirement is an integrated media campaign that presents economic abuse as unacceptable in print, electronic, and cinematic media. It is crucial to stress the part that men may play in ending domestic abuse by taking on more responsibility. 


Lack of awareness: Numerous individuals undergoing economic abuse could not identify it as a type of domestic violence or are unaware of their rights and available avenues for assistance.

A stereotypical mindset: The issue of domestic violence against women has always existed. Women have traditionally been seen as weak, susceptible, and a resource to be taken advantage of. For a very long time, violence against women has been accepted.

Male dominance: In many societies across the world, women are socialized into their gender roles. When it comes to safeguarding themselves if their spouses turn violent, women are frequently ill-prepared in communities with tight gender roles and a patriarchal power structure.

Cultural disarmament: The main reason for the discrepancy is that fear and men's dependency amount to a disarmament of the culture. When husbands beat their spouses, they usually believe that they are upholding their rights, keeping the family in decent order, and disciplining their wives for misbehaving, particularly when it comes to not keeping their rightful station. Moreover, in a country like India male dominance over every aspect including making financial decisions is an age-old practice.

Lack of education: Women are denied education even now in some parts of the world which makes them incapable of any professional work which naturally leads to financial dependence on their husbands.


It could be said that there is still uncertainty about how the law is to be applied, and that courts have given different interpretations over the years to the provisions pertaining to various forms of financial assistance to women who have been abused, including maintenance, rights to marital property, the right to housing, and monetary compensation. It's possible that when judges interpret the law, their subjectivities come into play. As a result, sometimes women win favourable rulings, while other times the complainants are denied their financial rights.

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA) of 2005:

This gives a comprehensive definition of economic abuse and gives the harmed women access to financial relief, compensation, and protection orders.

The 1973 Code of Criminal Procedure:

This act gives judges the authority to impose maintenance orders for parents, children, and spouses who are neglected by their husbands or children.

The Hindu Succession Act of 1956 (amended in 2005):

This is the act that gives sons and daughters equal rights to inherit jointly-owned property.

The 1961 Dowry Prohibition Act: 

This is a criminal law that penalizes parties engaged in the exchange of dowry. Dowry is prohibited by the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961. According to this rule, someone found guilty of dowry harassment faces a maximum sentence of six months in prison, a maximum fine of Rs 5,000, or both.

Domestic Violence Act,2005

As of October 26, 2006, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005 is in effect. The purpose of the Act is to shield wives and other female live-in partners from abuse at the hands of their husbands, other male live-in partners, or their relatives. The Act defines domestic violence as real abuse or the threat of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, or financial abuse. The principal aim of this Act's enactment is to enable the more efficient safeguarding of the constitutionally guaranteed rights of women who are subjected to domestic violence, as well as for matters incidental or related thereto. Regardless of a woman's marital status, the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 covers all women who have been victims of domestic abuse. Additionally, the Act emphasizes the definition of respondents or perpetrators under Section 2(q).

The act was implemented keeping in mind the various hardships women have to go through in their daily lives. Some of the features are; to stop domestic abuse by raising awareness of the problem and encouraging a change in culture away from violence, to guarantee that individuals who perpetrate violent crimes are apprehended and subjected to suitable legal repercussions, 

the creation of a thorough legal system that addresses domestic abuse and gives victims access to support services, protection orders, and legal recourse, to help survivors restore their lives and reclaim their freedom, we offer medical support, therapy, housing, and rehabilitation centers.


Section 31-The Domestic Violence Act of 2005 addresses the ‘Penalty for breach of protection order by respondent’ under Section 31. Should the responder violate the protective order, they face up to a year in prison, a fine of up to 20,000 rupees, or punishment of both. 

Section 20 of the Domestic Violence Act: Financial Reliefs -This part acknowledges the financial impact of domestic abuse and offers financial assistance to cover the survivor's costs, such as medical bills, lost wages, and compensation for psychological trauma. It aims to lessen the financial strain and provide survivors with the tools they need to start over.

  • The courts granted a maintenance claim made against the deceased husband's brother in the Ajay Kumar v. Lata case. Based on the brother and the deceased husband's combined business and shared dwelling in ancestral joint Hindu family property, this was approved. In this instance, the court upheld the decision about interim maintenance.
  • The Act empowers the Magistrate to grant monetary relief to the aggrieved person, which may include maintenance and expenses incurred because of domestic violence, including economic abuse [Mamta Bhardwaj VS Vinod Kumar Bhardwaj]. This relief can be sought in any legal proceedings before a civil court [Mamta Bhardwaj VS Vinod Kumar Bhardwaj].

Section 22 of Domestic Violence Act: Orders for Compensation -This Section states that the Magistrate issues compensation orders in the victim's favour. According to the document, the Magistrate may, upon the aggrieved person's application, pass an order directing the respondent to pay compensation and damages for the injuries, including mental torture and emotional distress, caused by the respondent's acts of domestic violence.

  • In the case of Preceline George VS State of Kerala, the court held that the DV Act does not require specific pleading with respect to any monetary claim, and the entitlement of the aggrieved person to claim maintenance is demonstrated by the definition of economic abuse.

Section 28-The Domestic Violence Act of 2005 specifies in Section 28 that the provisions of the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) shall apply to actions originating under this Act.

  • In Rajnesh v. Neha (2021), the Supreme Court overcame the difficulties brought on by a variety of proceedings and conflicting orders by formulating a thorough guideline while differentiating the rights and obligations of parties under several sets of legislation. Property rights

Section 498A-The Indian Penal Code, Section 498A, addresses acts of cruelty committed against women by their spouses or family members. According to this Section, whoever subjects a woman to cruelty as her husband or a relative of the husband shall be punished with imprisonment for a term that may extend to three years and shall also be liable to a fine.

  • The constitutional validity of Section 498-A was upheld in the Manav Adhikar v. Union of India Social Action Forum case. In addition, the court set rules for investigative officers that emphasized their need to exercise caution when working on matters of this nature.


Domestic abuse is a serious issue that must be addressed. Finally, it should be noted that the phrase ‘domestic violence’ refers to a variety of abusive behaviours, not just physical abuse but also mental, economic, socioeconomic, and psychological abuse. Everyone has the right to self-respect, which those around them ought to uphold. One can respect the continuous efforts to protect the rights and dignity of those affected and work toward a society where such violence has no place by being aware of the legal environment around domestic abuse.

The main reason for economic abuse is the patriarchal mindset of our nation which is a still prevailing bane of our country. It is high time we brought a difference in the notion of men as the dominating partner and women as the submissive one. This notion itself will create a difference between the social standing of a husband and wife. We should teach our coming generation how equally important a woman is compared to men.


India has a multifaceted problem of economic abuse against women, much of which goes unreported, undetected, and unpunished. It has far-reaching effects. Because they could profit from the women's emotional and financial weakness, batterers were able to maintain power over the women. Reducing economic domestic abuse requires confronting detrimental social attitudes and addressing the underlying gender imbalances. In the long run, preventative efforts can be strengthened by promoting gender equality through community engagement, education, and awareness campaigns.

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