Domestic Violence


Good To Know: What To Do If You Are A Victim Of Domestic Violence ?

Pavan Manikanta Kumar

November 30th, 2016


Relationships are a necessary part of our lives. When two people develop a connection based on mutual respect, trust, and support, it is the sign of a healthy relationship. However, when relationships cause harm to a person, they need to be re-evaluated. Such cases fall under the ambit of domestic violence. It includes physical, mental, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse.

Women in India are protected from domestic violence under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDVA). This law helps the domestic violence victim to get legal assistance and Protection. Currently, there aren’t strong laws protecting men who are facing such abuse. But men should reach out to Men’s Help Groups to seek legal, medical, emotional, and mental support and help.

ANYONE CAN BE A VICTIM! Victims can be of any age, sex, race, culture, religion, education, employment or marital status. Both men and women can be victims. Children living in homes where there is domestic violence are more likely to be abused and/or neglected, which becomes a threat to the development of the child. Even though the child is not physically harmed, they may have emotional and behavioural problems.

If you are being abused, REMEMBER:

  • You are not alone
  • It is not your fault
  • Help is available

Types Of Abuse

Domestic Violence is a pattern of abusive behaviour that keeps one partner in a position of power over the other partner through the use of fear, intimidation and control.

  • PHYSICAL ABUSE: Grabbing, pinching, shoving, slapping, hitting, hair pulling, biting, etc. Denying medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use.
  • SEXUAL ABUSE: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact without consent, e.g., marital rape, forcing sex after physically hurting, attacks on sexual parts of the body or treating another in a sexually demeaning manner.
  • ECONOMIC ABUSE: Making or attempting to make a person financially dependent, e.g., maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding access to money, forbidding attendance at school or employment.
  • EMOTIONAL ABUSE: Undermining a person’s sense of self-worth, e.g., constant criticism, belittling one’s abilities, name-calling, damaging a partner’s relationship with the children.
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE: Causing fear by intimidation, threatening physical harm to self, partner or children, destruction of pets and property, mind games or forcing isolation from friends, family, school and/or work.

Protect Yourself From Immediate Danger

1Stay away from dangerous places in the home. If you are in an immediately threatening situation, stay away from places without access to a door or a window.

  • Find a room with a door or window if you can. If the situation escalates, you’ll be able to leave.
  • Avoid rooms like the kitchen. Abusers can use many things in a kitchen, including knives, as weapons.
  • If you can, find a room that locks from the inside. Lock your abuser out.

2Give the abuser what s/he wants, if necessary. Many a time the person being abused is physically weaker than the abuser, so it is advisable to give the abuser what s/he wants, to save yourself from the immediate danger. Remember that under Indian Penal Code(IPC) Section 100 right of private defence of the body extends, under the restrictions mentioned

  • Such an assault as may reasonably cause the apprehension that death will otherwise be the consequence of such assault;
  • Such an assault as may reasonably cause the apprehension that grievous hurt will otherwise be the consequence of such assault;
  • An assault with the intention of committing rape;
  • An assault with the intention of gratifying unnatural lust;
  • An assault with the intention of kidnapping or abducting;
  • An assault with the intention of wrongfully confining a person, under circumstances which may reasonably cause him to apprehend that he will be unable to have recourse to the public authorities for his release.

3Get to a phone. If you have a cellphone, keep it with you at all times. If you don’t have a cellphone or can’t find it, get to a room with a phone so that you can call for help. In the India, you can call 1091 (toll-free). Urgent Helplines1 Urgent Helplines2

4Call emergency services. Call the police. Dial 100 from any area, tell the dispatcher that you are in danger from your abuser and that you need someone to come to the house directly. If you are able to leave the house, tell the dispatcher where you are going and how to contact you.

5Get out of the house if you can. It could take some time for the police to respond to your call. If it’s possible, run to a neighbour’s house for safety. Just be sure you let the emergency services dispatcher know where you are going so that the officers can find you.


Preparing Yourself If You Are In An Abusive Relationship

One cannot anticipate when will an abusive situation escalates and may threaten your life. So it is always better to be prepared to leave the place if the situation demands.
1Get a secure phone. There are many ways that abusers can monitor your phone use.

  • An abusive partner can install an app on your phone that can track your calls or listen in on them, or s/he can use the GPS feature to track where you are.
  • Consider getting a prepaid cell phone or another phone that your partner does not know about

2Use computers and mobile devices with caution. Your internet access may be monitored. When possible, use computers at a public library or a trusted friend or family member’s house. Remember that your abuser may have your login information and could read your emails or social media activity. Update passwords for all your online accounts. Create a new email account for the purpose of discussing your safety.

3Create and memorise a list of emergency contacts, ask several people you trust if you can contact them if you are in danger or need assistance. Memorise the phone numbers and addresses for organisations and people who are willing to help you, such as your local women’s shelter or men’s help homes.

  • If you have purchased a secret prepaid cell phone, program these contacts into its memory.
  • Your list should include your domestic abuse hotline.
  • Gather contact information for local women’s shelters, police departments, and trusted friends and family members.
  • Give a copy of this list to someone you trust. That way, you will have it even if you are forced to leave your home at a moment’s notice.

4Identify safe areas of the house and be prepared. You can go there when you notice your partner’s behaviour escalating. Find a safe space, safe areas should be large and open, preferably with an exit such as a door or a window.

  • Avoid the kitchen since knives may be used as weapons, and avoid bathrooms since they are usually small and enclosed.
  • Make sure all family members follow the same plan in an emergency so no one gets left behind if escape is necessary. It is better to use a “code” to communicate with your family members and friends that you are in danger.
  • Keep your car filled with gas and unlocked. Hide a spare car key outside so you can make a fast getaway.

5Carry these when you are planning to leave your partner.

  • Identification documents for yourself and your children

-Birth certificates
-Driver’s license/ration card/photo identification or passports
-Important personal papers
-Marriage certificate
-Health insurance papers and medical cards
-Medical records for all family members
-Children’s school records
-Investment papers/records and account numbers
-Rental agreement/lease or house deed
-Car title, registration, and insurance information

  • Funds

-Credit cards
-ATM card
-Chequebook and bankbook (with deposit slips)
-House/car/deposit box
-Jewellery or small objects you can sell if you run out of money or stop having access to your accounts

  • A way to communicate

-Cell phone
-Address book

  • Medications

-At least 1 month’s supply for all medicines you and your children are taking, as well as a copy of the prescriptions

6Open a bank account in your name. One of the ways that many abusers maintain control of their victims is restricting access to finances. If you can, open a bank account in your name. Keep a debit card for the account in your emergency bag.

7Contact the police, an attorney, or legal aid through a domestic violence agency about your children. If your children are minors, your abuser may be able to accuse you of kidnapping if you take them with you when you escape. Get some legal advice about how to keep yourself and your children safe without putting yourself at risk of prosecution.


Protecting Yourself After Leaving Your Partner

1Seek a personal protection order.

Law for Women: The Protection from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 is available for those women who are or have been in a relationship with the abuser where both parties have lived together in a shared household. The Act provides for the appointment of Protection Officers and NGOs to provide assistance to the woman w.r.t medical examination, legal aid, safe shelter, etc.

  • Different kinds of order that can be issued by Magistrates are Protection orders, Residence orders, monetary relief, custody orders, and compensation orders.
  • Bring a statement describing your situation in as much detail as possible. Bring any evidence, such as photographs, police reports, etc., of your abuser’s behaviour.
  • Make sure that the order specifies that you have custody of any children.
  • Once the order is issued, carry a copy with you at all times. This will help the police enforce it if your abuser attempts to harass you.
  • Provide copies of the order to employers, your child’s principal, and others in positions of authority.

Law for Men: There are no strong laws to protect men yet. However, Indian Social Awareness and Activism Forum (INSAAF), and Confidare Research have drafted a bill which aims to protect men and boys from domestic violence from their spouse, girlfriends and parents. The draft is called Saving Men from Intimate Terror Act (SMITA) and the groups aim to introduce it for debate in the parliament. Men can reach out to Men’s rights groups in their cities or states for further help.

2Close any bank and credit card accounts. This will help keep your abuser from running up huge bills in your name or wiping out your bank balances. Open a new account at a different bank.

3Change your routine. Take different routes home from work, and avoid shopping or visiting same locations as before. Stay away from places where your abuser might find you or look for you.

  • Don’t travel alone if you can avoid it. Ask a trusted friend or family member to go shopping with you or check in with you to make sure you get home from work safely.
  • If you are staying in your home, change the locks.

4Alert your employer and your children’s school. Give trusted people at your workplace and your children’s school a copy of your protection order. Provide a photograph of your abuser so that they can notify the authorities if s/he shows up. Many employers take domestic violence seriously as an HR issue. Employers may have resources to help keep your abuser away from you at work.

  • Make sure that your employer and your children’s school know that they should never give your address or phone number to anyone.
  • You can ask a security guard to walk you to your car if you feel unsafe

5Tell those around you that you just left an abusive home. Show pictures of your partner to your neighbours and the local police so they can be prepared if he comes through the neighbourhood looking for you. Ask your neighbours to call the police if they see suspicious vehicles or people at your home.

Remember: Abusers repeat their behaviour, and the abuse will become worse over time. Don’t stay in such relationships with the hope that it will “get better.”

Resources :

Disclaimer : *This information is subject to periodic government policy / process change. Kindly contact the concerned department to cross check for recent updates, if any.


Stories that deserve attention, delivered to your inbox!

Handpicked, newsworthy stories which deserve the attention of a rational generation.

Send this to a friend