Domestic Violence whom do you approach?
As a victim, you can approach either the ‘Protection Officer’ or the ‘Service Provider’ under this law. A Protection Officer is the first point of contact for a victim. The Protection Officer can help start proceedings before the Magistrate and help with providing a safe shelter or medical help. Each State Government appoints protection officers in their state.
The Service Provider is an organization which works towards helping women and is registered under this law.
A victim can approach a Service Provider to record her complaint and to get medical help or a safe place to stay. This is a database of all Registered Protection Officers and Service Providers across India.
You can also approach the police or a Magistrate directly. Depending on where you or the offender lives, the Magistrate you approach will be either a Judicial Magistrate (First Class) or a Metropolitan Magistrate.
You are more likely to find Metropolitan Magistrates in cities with a population of more than 10 lakhs.
Who can complain about a case of domestic violence?
The victim herself, can obviously make the complaint. Even if you are not the victim, you can approach the Protection officer. If you believe that someone has been or is currently being subject to domestic violence, you can approach a Protection Officer. As someone who has acted in good faith, no one can pull you up in a court of law even if it turns out the information you have given is wrong. In addition, instead of heading to the Protection Officer, the victim can approach the Service Provider to make a complaint. The Service Provider then records the complaint (domestic incident report’) and sends a copy to the local Magistrate and the Protection Officer.
What can you expect from the court when you file a case?
If you as a victim of domestic violence want a more permanent solution to your problems, you can go to the court. The type of judges who are responsible for this Act are called ‘Magistrates’. The victim need not make the application herself. The Protection Officer or any other person on her behalf can make the application. One of the things the Magistrate must keep in mind is the complaint which was first recorded by the Protection Officer or the Service Provider.
In addition to filing a domestic violence case under this Act, the victim can also go to court and file a normal civil case. When the victim has also filed a normal civil case, the court will deduct the amount paid under the domestic violence case when deciding how much she gets.