• Law & Order

The Pandemic Reveals the Weak Implementation of the Domestic Violence Act 2005

Written by Harshita Agarwal

First Year, Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, IIT Kharagpur




Disclaimer: Please note that the views expressed below represent the opinions of the article's author. The following does not necessarily represent the views of Law & Order.


Introduction

In the approach to the declaration of the nation-wide lockdown on March 24th, 2020, the administration neglected the need to create techniques to address conceivable aftermath in a few aspects. One such aspect that went unaddressed was abusive behaviour at home, often termed as domestic violence. The focus of imposing restrictions to check the health threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic and to prevent its spread had failed to look upon the escalation in the anxieties and mental health issues, aggravated by fear of COVID-19, financial and social concerns that followed. There is likewise a matter of concern that domestic violence rates would additionally increase with work misfortunes and other financial burdens. An additional problem has also been the significance of interlaced negative psychosocial sway on the emotional health of women.

Man and woman are considered as two parts of the divine body according to the Hindu religion.[1] Gargi, Maitreyi, and Sulabha are examples of the super-woman seen in Hindu history who had the capacity of thinking unquestionably progressively unrivaled from that of a common people.[2] Hinduism worships numerous female goddesses like Saraswati, Durga, Laxmi, Kali, and a significant number of the Indian streams are named after women like Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Bhagirathi, Godavari. As indicated by the chronicled sacred texts, during the Vedic time frame every woman was respected, had the opportunity to get an education and settle as per their own choices. In any case, practically speaking it was the exact opposite. The brutality against women is a centuries-old practice of the households. A beautiful picture of mutual respect and care has been painted for the sake of religion, social traditions, and ceremonies inside the premises of home which is viewed as the sanctuary of warmth, regard, security, and wellbeing of its individuals. However, for certain women, it is a spot that imperils their lives and breeds probably the most radical types of aggressive behaviour at home against them as an authority is often executed by the male members of the family which most of the time, happen to be their spouses.

Though it is not mandatory only the women who face domestic violence, victims could be male members as well, but mostly the abuse and violence rate towards women have been recorded to be potentially higher, abusers being their husband or his relatives. As per the report disclosed by the World Health Organization, in every three women, one of the women over the globe encounters physical as well as sexual brutality in the course of their life; out of which 30 percent of the cases involve women facing domestic violence by their partners.[3] Powered by compulsory stay-at-home principles, social separating, financial vulnerabilities and tensions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence has escalated all around the world. For example, nations like the United States, China, United Kingdom, Tunisia, Brazil, Australia, and France, and numerous others have announced instances of expanded aggressive behaviour at home and Intimate Partner Violence.[4] India is demonstrating patterns, which are scandalous for being the fourth most noticeably awful nation (after the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia) for sexual orientation balance (positioned by recognition).[5] As indicated in the Crime in India Report, 2018[6], distributed by the National Crimes Research Bureau (NCRB), every 1.7 minutes, wrongdoing has been recorded against women in India; at regular intervals, an assault has been carried out and every 4.4 minutes a young lady is exposed to abusive behavior at home.

Domestic Violence Act 2005

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 was passed during the tenure of the United Progressive Alliance government and came into power on 26th October 2006, longer than a year after it was passed by Parliament. The purpose of this law was aimed to be straightforward: to address the violence that takes place against women in households.


It was the first time that a new law ventured inside of an individual’s home and managed private spaces of people—something the law had abstained from doing up to that point—yet specifically. It recognized that abusive behaviour at home is widely prevalent but has remained largely invisible in the public domain.

For the first time, PWDVA defined the term "domestic violence" and it didn't limit itself to physical violence as explained in the international definitions.


The Indian Law definition for domestic violence not only incorporates physical abuse, which can be recognized and is easy to prove in the court of law but also added emotional and sexual abuse as the basis of the prosecution. It even includes the apprehension of violence as a component of the definition.[7]

As indicated by a 2013 article distributed by UN Women, a family survey directed from October to November 2012 by UN Women and the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), reports that "nearly 73 percent of women, in Delhi, said they do not feel safe in their own surroundings … and reported feeling unsafe all of the time".[8] In certain spots, it appears to have expanded notwithstanding severe laws in place.[9] According to the Indian Crime National Crime's Bureau ("NCRB"), brutality has expanded with the rates expanding from 41.7 to 53.9% between 2012-2015; abusive behaviour at home has likewise expanded by 8%.[10] These numbers are hypothesized to have expanded because of an expanded detailing by ladies. Domestic Violence Cases in India amidst Pandemic

The occurrences of domestic violence have demonstrated a rising pattern, in contrast to different offences committed in Delhi, during the progressing lockdown, insights have shown.[11] The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the danger of aggressive behavior at home is probably going to increment, as distancing measures are set up and individuals are urged to remain at home. According to the numbers given by the National Commission of Women (NCW) in mid-April, the instances of domestic violence had multiplied during lockdown contrasted with pre-lockdown days[12]. In 25 days between March 23 and April 16, the commission got 239 objections, essentially through email and WhatsApp number. This is practically twofold the number of grievances (123) got during the past 25 days, from February 27 to March 22. The principal lockdown from March 25 to April 14 was in the long run stretched out to May 3.

It must not come as an astonishment since abusive behaviour at home bested in the classification of domestic violence against ladies in 2018. According to the information, a sum of 89,097 arguments identified with violations against ladies was enlisted across India in 2018.[13] The figures show very little has improved when contrasted with the figure of 86,001 cases enrolled under this head in 2017. The crime percentage per lakh ladies’ populace was 58.8 in 2018 in contrast with 57.9 in 2017.

Recurrent demonstrations of physical viciousness, for example, slapping, hitting, kicking and beating; sexual brutality, including constrained sex and different types of sexual pressure, acts done against the partner’s consent; enthusiastic (mental) misuse, for example, affronts, putting down, steady embarrassment, terrorizing (for example pulverizing things), dangers of damage, dangers to remove kids; controlling practices, including disengaging an individual from loved ones; observing their developments; and confining access to budgetary assets, work, training or clinical consideration, regularly brings about despondency, and fits of anxiety and other uneasiness issue and even suicides. It regularly affects the survivors as research proposes that the memory of misuse perseveres long after the savagery has halted.[14] This regularly brings about interminable medical as well as mental health issues and creating dangers of numerous illnesses that emerge from prolonged pressure.

Conclusion

In this setting "Stay home. Stay safe" sounds insincere since the lockdown has implied that both women and children are compelled to live in close proximity to the culprits of viciousness who are spouses and other relatives.

This increases the effect of domestic violence that could be both internal for example emotional and mental, and external for example physical.


The reprieve of going to work or school or having the option to get to make sure about safe spaces like parental homes, homes of companions, and so on, is not an option available at this point of time due to the prohibitions imposed. A condition of disguised lockdown has by and large come at an extraordinary expense to their own psychological and physical health.

Helplines are getting calls however the numbers are substantially less contrasted with "ordinary" times. Furthermore, the rare sorts of people who do, can't get the help they really need as some of the calls go unanswered, or because of apprehension of danger by the attacker. Also, most of the Indian women, especially living in rural areas, do not have access to mobile or telephones or to the internet. This demonstrates an inauspicious quieting that could be backward and implosive over the long haul. At another level, as worldwide financial frameworks and super establishments disintegrate, individuals are being compelled to withdraw into littler spaces to endure, revamp occupations, and fashion new human solidarities. The worldwide lockdown is maybe likewise an opportunity for us to stand up to and exercise the interior infection of a patriarchal society that joined with that of station, class, and shared divisions are eroding our aggregate invulnerability frameworks. In such circumstances we need to come out of this pandemic as an increasingly "sound" society from a comprehensive perspective, we have to intentionally develop nearby progressively maintainable reliant systems of care and solidarity, from an increasingly judicious and altruistic point of view that regards and rises above contrasts and discrimination in the society. Be it that of sex, standing, ethnicity, language, or religion. The test lies in planning for this change.

[1] The Lord who is Half Woman, Ellen Goldberg. [2] First women of philosophy, https://aeon.co/essays/before-the-canon-the-non-european-women-who-founded-philosophy [3] Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence, https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/85239/9789241564625_eng.pdf?sequence=1. [4] COVID-19 and violence against women. What the health sector/system can do, World Health Organization, 7 April 2020. [5] The Situation of Women in the Gulf States. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2014/509985/IPOL_STU%282014%29509985_EN.pdf [6] Crime in India 2018. https://ncrb.gov.in/sites/default/files/Crime%20in%20India%202018%20-%20Volume%201.pdf [7] Section 3 in The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. [8] UN Women supported survey in Delhi shows 95% of women and girls feel unsafe in public places. [9] India: Violence against women, including domestic violence, homelessness, workplace violence; information on legislation, state protection, services, and legal recourse available to women who are victims of violence (2013-April 2015). [10] Crimes against women up 34% in four years; most reports from UP, Maharashtra, West Bengal. Firstpost, Sep 06, 2016. [11] Lockdown: NCW receives 315 domestic violence complaints in April. The Hindu. May 04, 2020. [12] Activists urge roping in ASHA Workers and Other Novel Approaches as Domestic Violence Rises During Lockdowns. Akshita Nagpal. April 6, 2020. [13] Crime in India, 2018. https://ncrb.gov.in/sites/default/files/Crime%20in%20India%202018%20-%20Volume%201.pdf [14] World report on violence and health. Etienne G. Krug, Linda L. Dahlberg, James A. Mercy, Anthony B. Zwi, and Rafael Lozano. World Health Organization Geneva 2002.

Bibliography 1. Akshita Nagpal, Activists urge roping in ASHA Workers and Other Novel Approaches as Domestic Violence Rises During Lockdowns. April 6, 2020 2. Anubhuti Matta, Domestic Violence Victims Need More Than Hotline Numbers During Lockdown. The Swaddle. May 7, 2020 3. COVID-19 and violence against women. What the health sector/system can do, World Health Organization, 7 April 2020 4. Crimes against women up 34% in four years; most reports from UP, Maharashtra, West Bengal. Firstpost, Sep 06, 2016. 5. Crime in India 2018 Volume-I. National Crime Records Bureau Ministry of Home Affairs 6. Dhamini Ratnam, Domestic violence during COVID-19 lockdown emerges as serious concern. Hindustan Times. April 6, 2020 7. Domestic violence, abuse complaints rise in coronavirus lockdown: NCW. The Indian Express. April 3, 2020 8. Ellen Goldberg, The Lord who is Half Women. 9. Etienne G. Krug, Linda L. Dahlberg, James A. Mercy, Anthony B. Zwi, and Rafael Lozano.World report on violence and health. World Health Organization Geneva 2002 10. First women of philosophy, Aeon. November 23, 2018 11. Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. WHO 2013. 12. India Domestic Violence Helpline Numbers During the Lockdown. She The People. April 10, 2020 13. India: Violence against women, including domestic violence, homelessness, workplace violence; information on legislation, state protection, services, and legal recourse available to women who are victims of violence (2013-April 2015)

14. Lockdown: NCW receives 315 domestic violence complaints in April. The Hindu. May 04, 2020

15. Shamita Harsh, COVID-19 Lockdown: India is Failing Domestic Violence Victims. Stories Asia People First. April 25, 2020

16. The Situation of Women in the Gulf States. Directorate General For Internal Policies of the Union. 2015

17. UN Women supported survey in Delhi shows 95% of women and girls feel unsafe in public places. Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth.

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