Protection of Women under Domestic Violence Act 2005.
What is Domestic violence?
In 2005, a new law, called the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act was passed to protect women from domestic violence.
Domestic violence under this law can include different kinds of abuse and violence.It includes any act which causes you physical or mental pain. Being abusive could mean physical, sexual, verbal, and emotional as well as economic abuse.
‘Aggrieved’ person as per the law
If you are a woman and any person with whom you are in a domestic relationship with is being abusive, you are a victim or an ‘aggrieved person’.
This law aims to protect women who are living in the same house with people who are related through:
Blood relationships: mother-son, father-daughter, sister-brother, widows, Marriage: husband-wife, daughter-in-law with father-in-law/ mother-in-law and other members of the family, sister-in-law with other members of the family, widows with other members of the family;
Adoption – for ex. adopted daughter and father , Relationships in the nature of marriage, live-in relationships, legally invalid marriages (for e.g. husband has married a second time, husband and wife are related by blood etc.) The people need not currently be living in a shared home. For example, if the husband threw the wife out of their home, it would still be a shared home.
As an aggrieved person, what are your rights?
The law imposes certain duties on the main authorities responsible for enforcing this law. When a police officer, Protection Officer, Service Provider, or Magistrate comes to know that someone is suffering from domestic violence, they must inform the victim of the following rights:
The victim can apply for any of the reliefs recognized under this law i.e. a protection order, monetary relief, custody order, residence order or a compensation order.
The victim can use the services of certain official Service Providers.
The victim can approach a Protection Officer and ask them for help.
The victim can ask for free legal aid.
The victim can also file a criminal complaint under the general law on crimes (the Indian Penal Code, 1860).
Please note that filing a criminal complaint can put the offenders in jail for up to three years. The victim must have suffered a graver degree of abuse (i.e. cruelty) to be able to file a complaint.
In addition, state designated shelter homes and hospitals have a duty to provide a safe place to stay and medical help to every victim who approaches them. The victim need not approach directly and can do it through the Protection Officer or the Service Provider.