Understanding Domestic Violence        (Definition, Types, consequences for women, history of the DV                    mo...
Moreover the economic and social context of its (laws) application had not been considered seriouslyby both the government...
•    Isolation: monitoring or blocking your telephone calls, telling you where you can and cannot         go, preventing y...
Haryana         10.8               2.3           3.4J&K             15.4               4.8           7.1Tamil Nadu      36...
majority of women who reported domestic violence were first assaulted by their husbands less than twoyears into their marr...
VAW in the personal life—manifested in the form of pre-birth elimination of girls, female infanticide,dowry murders, force...
newly-published findings of India’s third National Family Health Survey (NFHS-III).NFHS-III, which interviewed 1.25 lakh w...
seek help to try and end the violence their husbands mete out to them. For instance, only 2% ofwomen who faced domestic vi...
•Abusing children in their mothers presence with the intention of causing her mental torture,•Denying the paternity of the...
Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005      •Recognition of the right to residence      •Provision for the a...
•Introducing mechanisms to ensure quicker and simpler procedures for women to obtain legal redress totheir problems. This ...
2. Legal aid: Through our collaboration with Majlis and Lawyers Collective, we provide legal aid towomen. Lawyers are avai...
5.   Programmes designed for the batterers: must be introduced in both the state and voluntary     sectors. In order to pr...
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Domestic violence as violation of human rights of women

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Domestic Violence: Challenges Before Women’s Movement and NGOs
by
Dr. Vibhuti Patel, Director, P.G. S. R.
Professor and Head, Post Graduate Department of Economics,
SNDT Women’s University, Smt. Nathibai Thakersey Road,
Churchgate, Mumbai-400020
Tel (91) (22) 26770227 ®, 22052970 (O), Mobile-9321040048 Email: vibhuti.np@gmail.com


“Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation. And it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace.” Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Introduction
The concept of human rights evolved largely from ideas of western political theory about rights of individuals to autonomy and freedom. Thus the international human rights law evolved to protect individuals' autonomy vis-à-vis the state. And, it held states responsible for individual rights and accountable for abuse of those rights.
The development of human rights has been expressed in terms of 'generations': The civil and political rights, as the first generation rights; economic, social and cultural rights as the second generation rights; and the group or people's rights, which are recently defined as the third generation rights.

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Domestic violence as violation of human rights of women

  1. 1. Understanding Domestic Violence (Definition, Types, consequences for women, history of the DV movement in India, changes in the Law) by Dr. Vibhuti Patel, Director, P.G. S. R. Professor and Head, Post Graduate Department of Economics, SNDT Women’s University, Smt. Nathibai Thakersey Road, Churchgate, Mumbai-400020 Tel (91) (22) 26770227 ®, 22052970 (O), Mobile-9321040048 Email: vibhuti.np@gmail.com“Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation. And it is perhaps themost pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, wecannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace.” Kofi Annan,Secretary-General of the United NationsIntroductionThe concept of human rights evolved largely from ideas of western political theory about rights ofindividuals to autonomy and freedom. Thus the international human rights law evolved to protectindividuals autonomy vis-à-vis the state. And, it held states responsible for individual rights andaccountable for abuse of those rights.The development of human rights has been expressed in terms of generations: The civil and politicalrights, as the first generation rights; economic, social and cultural rights as the second generation rights;and the group or peoples rights, which are recently defined as the third generation rights.Indeed the development of human rights movement, right from the Universal Declaration of HumanRights (1948), and the three generations of rights show that rights are defined as belonging to allhuman beings irrespective of gender. However, though international law is gender neutral in theory, inpractice it constituted men and women into separate spheres of existence--public and private,respectively. Thus men exist as public, legal entities that enjoy civil and political rights and in a waydefine the nature of rights discourse. Womens existence, on the other hand, is "privatized", thus, seenas existing outside the purview of the states obligation. Often womens exclusion from the humanrights practice and discourse, their relegation to the private, has been justified on grounds of social andcultural specificity of region or a group. Thus, social and cultural norms, which become grounds forrespective states consistent relegation of women to private sphere, results in international law beingeither reinforcing or replicating exclusion of womens human rights abuses from the public sphere. Theeffects of this public/private divide in the international law are more evident in domestic violence,which literally happens in the private. Many laws are gender neutral, however, their application isgender biased. (Agnes, 1988) 1
  2. 2. Moreover the economic and social context of its (laws) application had not been considered seriouslyby both the governmental and at the same time non-governmental organizations, all over the world.Harms suffered by women at the hands of private individuals or within the family had been placedoutside of the conceptual framework of international human rights. Feminists have argued that a failingof international human rights norms is in not recognizing the gendered consequences of theirapplication they render invisible particular problems suffered by women. Moreover, in addition to holding states responsible for taking action against the human rights abusesoccurring in the private sphere, feminist human rights thinkers argued that domestic violence should beconceived as a form of torture. They aver that though torture with cases of disappearance and murder,is widely recognized as a core violation of human rights, that inequality on the basis of sex is widelycondemned, why is torture on basis of sex in the form of rape, domestic battering and pornography notseen as a violation of human rights? The feminist analysis examines characteristics of domestic violence, in the light of international legalunderstanding, of what constitutes torture and cruelty, the inhuman and degrading treatment it entails.They affirm that process, purposes, and consequences of torture and that of domestic violence arestartlingly similar. That whether torture committed in domestic context or that inflicted officially, doesnot reduce its intensity of violence, nor does it demand different standards of judgments and actions onpart of state.The existing international human rights instruments, has both a separate provision for womens rights(i.e. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, CEDAW), andother general mechanisms which stressed formal equality of women and men. While this developmentis important, it is not adequate to address issue of womens subordination. Recently, non-governmentalorganizations have begun to document womens abuse within the context of traditional human rightslaw. (Mathur, 2004) These efforts are based on and addressed within that framework of whose very structure is built on thesilence of women. The fundamental problem women face is not discriminatory treatment vis-à-vismen. Rather it is necessary to raise a larger problem: that, women are in inferior position because theyhave no power either in public or private worlds, or in international human rights law. Thus problem ofdomestic abuse as a human rights issue will have to be seen as a part of larger reality of subordinationof women--their powerlessness in terms of defining the human rights discourse.What are the signs of domestic violence? • Destructive criticism and verbal abuse: shouting/mocking/accusing/name calling/verbally threatening. • Pressure tactics: sulking, threatening to withhold money, disconnect the telephone, take the car away, commit suicide, take the children away, report you to welfare agencies unless you comply with his demands regarding bringing up the children, lying to your friends and family about you, telling you that you have no choice in any decisions. • Disrespect: persistently putting you down in front of other people, not listening or responding when you talk, interrupting your telephone calls, taking money from your purse without asking, refusing to help with childcare or housework. • Breaking trust: lying to you, withholding information from you, being jealous, having other relationships, breaking promises and shared agreements. 2
  3. 3. • Isolation: monitoring or blocking your telephone calls, telling you where you can and cannot go, preventing you from seeing friends and relatives. • Harassment: following you, checking up on you, opening your mail, repeatedly checking to see who has telephoned you, embarrassing you in public. • Threats: making angry gestures, using physical size to intimidate, shouting you down, destroying your possessions, breaking things, punching walls, wielding a knife or a gun, threatening to kill or harm you and the children. • Sexual violence: using force, threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts, having sex with you when you dont want to have sex, any degrading treatment based on your sexual orientation. • Physical violence: punching, slapping, hitting, biting, pinching, kicking, pulling hair out, pushing, shoving, burning, strangling. • Denial: saying the abuse doesnt happen, saying you caused the abusive behaviour, being publicly gentle and patient, crying and begging for forgiveness, saying it will never happen again. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 defines “Domestic Violence” as • (a) harms or injures or endangers the health, safety, life, limb or well-being, whether mental or physical, of the aggrieved person or tends to do so and includes causing physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse and economic abuse; or • (b) harasses, harms, injures or endangers the aggrieved person with a view to coerce her or any other person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any dowry or other property or valuable security; or • (c) has the effect of threatening the aggrieved person or any person related to her by any conduct mentioned in clause (a) or clause (b); or(d) otherwise injures or causes harm, whether physical or mental, to the aggrieved person.Domestic Violence in IndiaNFHS II data on domestic violence are quite revealing.India / State Percentage beaten or physically mistreated since age 15 by: Husband In-laws Other PersonIndia 18.8 1.8 3.1Andhra Pr. 21.2 2.8 2.0Kerala 7.5 0.2 3.2Uttar Pr. 20.8 1.9 2.2Bihar 24.9 2.4 3.1Rajasthan 9.8 1.5 0.9Madhya Pr. 19.7 1.9 1.6Orissa 22.9 3.0 7.9Punjab 11.7 1.3 4.4 3
  4. 4. Haryana 10.8 2.3 3.4J&K 15.4 4.8 7.1Tamil Nadu 36.0 0.5 9.0Source: NFHS-II, 1998-99, IIPS, Mumbai, 2000.2005-06 National Family Health Survey IIINearly 55% of Indian women and a little over half of Indian men think that wife-beating is okay,according to the latest National Family Health Survey, reflecting widespread social acceptability ofdomestic violence across genders. Over 40% of Indian women have experienced domestic violence atsome point in their married lives, and nearly 55% think that spousal abuse is warranted in severalcircumstances, according to the newly-published findings of India’s third National Family HealthSurvey (NFHS-III). NFHS-III, which interviewed 1.25 lakh women in 28 states and the nationalcapital, during 2005-06 found that just over a third of women who had been married at any point intheir lives said they had been pushed, slapped, shaken or otherwise attacked by their husbands at leastonce.Slapping was the most common act of physical violence by husbands. More than 34% of women saidtheir husbands slapped them, while 15% said their husbands pulled their hair or twisted their arm.Around 14% of the women had things thrown at them. The NFHS also states that an overwhelming 4
  5. 5. majority of women who reported domestic violence were first assaulted by their husbands less than twoyears into their marriage. According to the figures, 62% experienced physical or sexual violence withinthe first two years of marriage, while 32% experienced violence in the first five years. India’s latestand most comprehensive survey also found that one in six wives had been emotionally abused by theirhusbands, while one in 10, or 10%, have experienced sexual violence like marital rape on at least oneoccasion. Low levels of education clearly play a major role in this horrifying trend -- over 47% ofwomen who reported domestic violence had no education, compared with 12% among women with 12or more years of education. The figure was 16% for women who had completed high school.According to the NFHS figures, domestic violence is most common in Bihar -- the percentage ofabused women is 59%, with 63% of incidents reported among urban women. Bihar was followed byRajasthan (46.3%), Madhya Pradesh (45.8%), Manipur (43.9%), Uttar Pradesh (42.4%), Tamil Nadu(41.9%), and West Bengal (40.3%). Meanwhile, the tiny, ‘less developed’ but highly progressive hillstate of Himachal Pradesh reported the lowest incidence of abuse by husbands -- a mere 6%. Womenbelonging to scheduled caste and scheduled tribe communities reportedly experienced the most spousalabuse, with one in three reporting having been beaten by their husbands. Ironically, Buddhist womenreported the highest levels of violence (41%) followed by Muslim and Hindu women (34%-35%) andSikh and Christian women (26%-28%). Women from the Jain community reported the lowest levels ofviolence -- 13%. With regard to attitudes to domestic violence, the NFHS found that 41% of womenthought that husbands were justified in slapping their wives if the latter showed disrespect to their in-laws. Meanwhile, a substantial 35% of women thought they deserved a brutal beating at the hands oftheir spouses if they neglected doing the household chores or looking after their children.Given this attitude towards domestic violence from the victims themselves, it is unsurprising that nearly51% of the 75,000 Indian men surveyed think hitting or beating their wives is acceptable for certainreasons, particularly if she disrespects her in-laws. A smaller number think bad cooking or refusing sexis reasons for physically assaulting their wives. Experts say the way women in India are brought upexplains why only one in four abused women seek help to try and end the violence their husbands meteout to them. For instance, only 2% of women who faced domestic violence sought intervention fromthe police.G C Chaturvedi, director, National Rural Health Mission, says: “In India, the worst problem we face isthat victims in almost all states don’t feel victimised, both in case of dowry or spousal violence. Theyfeel being beaten up or tortured by their husbands is all right. They have been groomed to believe that.We are trying to change this mindset by educating and empowering more women, making them awareof their rights. It will take some time to change people.”Commenting on NFHS findings on the widespread social acceptability of gender-based physical abuseby a partner, Dr Sulabha Parasuraman of the International Institute of Population Studies (IIPS) saysthe attitude of Indian women is “truly shocking”. “Men are brought up being taught that beating uptheir wives isn’t wrong, while women are told that being assaulted by their husbands is acceptable.Girls are taught that they can be punished by their husbands for disobedience. This social attitude has tochange immediately.” The IIPS spearheaded the survey on domestic violence for the NFHS that wasjointly conducted by 18 organisations.A nationwide survey in 2004 showed that 52 per cent of women suffer at least one incident of physicalor psychological violence in their lifetime (ICRW, 2004). 5
  6. 6. VAW in the personal life—manifested in the form of pre-birth elimination of girls, female infanticide,dowry murders, forced polyandry, trafficking of girls and women and incest is increasingly accepted asa serious social problem (Mathur, 2004).The Indian feminists have asserted that the pillars of patriarchy—namely family, kinship andcommunity organizations, religious and cultural organizations and state—covertly and overtly glorifywidow burning and witch hunts of widows, divorcees and deserted women, all in an effort to exercisetotal control over women’s sexuality, fertility and labour, and also to usurp their property and landrights (Lohia, 1998).A study by the Centre for Womens Development Studies says every hour five women face cruelty athome. (CWDS, 2002). Other studies reveal that every six hours, somewhere in India, a young marriedwoman is burned alive, beaten to death, or driven to commit suicide. (ICRW, 2004). The NFHS (II)reported one in five married women in India experiences domestic violence from the age of 15. It isestimated that more than 15,000 women suffer from dowry-related violence ever year. Analysis by theNational Crime Records Bureau shows that in 1999, cruelty by husbands and dowry-related violencetogether accounted for 36 per cent of the total crimes against women (Jagori, 2003). According to theIndian National Crime Records Bureaus unique crime clock 2005’ which tracked criminal activitiesover 2004, the country reported one molestation every 15 minutes; one crime against women every 3minutes; one dowry death every 77 minutes; one rape every 29 minutes; one murder every 16 minutes;and one sexual harassment case every 53 minutes. Recent studies show that even in the mostprogressive state in the country, Kerala, crimes against women has risen four-fold in the past sevenyears. Foeticide is on the rise -- there were 967 girls for every 1,000 boys in the 0-6 age group in 2001as opposed to 976 in 1971 (Patel, 2006). 75 per cent of women who are victims of domestic violence donot seek help due to concern for family honour (ICRW, 2004). Data from NFHS (II) show that 56 percent women justified beatings by husbands.What came to be known in India as dowry deaths – the killing of young married women for thedowry or money/goods they brought with them at the time of marriage. This was also the beginning ofa process of learning for women: most protests were directed at the State. Because women were able tomobilise support, the State responded, seemingly positively, by changing the law on rape and dowry,making both more stringent. (Ghaswala,1998). This seemed, at that time, like a great victory. It wasonly later that the knowledge began to sink in that mere changes in the law meant little, unless therewas a will and a machinery to implement these. And that, the root of the problem of discriminationagainst women lay not only in the law, or with the State, but was much more widespread.In the early campaigns, groups learnt from day to day experiences that targeting the State was notenough and that survivors also needed support (Patel, 2002). So a further level of work was needed:awareness raising or conscientisation so that violence against women could be prevented, rather thanonly dealt with after it had happened. Legal aid and counseling centers were set up, and attempts weremade to establish womens shelters (Dabir, 2000).NFHS-III on Domestic ViolenceNearly 55% of Indian women and a little over half of Indian men think that wife-beating is okay,according to the latest National Family Health Survey, reflecting widespread social acceptability ofdomestic violence across gendersOver 40% of Indian women have experienced domestic violence at some point in their married lives,and nearly 55% think that spousal abuse is warranted in several circumstances, according to the 6
  7. 7. newly-published findings of India’s third National Family Health Survey (NFHS-III).NFHS-III, which interviewed 1.25 lakh women in 28 states and the national capital, during 2005-06found that just over a third of women who had been married at any point in their lives said they hadbeen pushed, slapped, shaken or otherwise attacked by their husbands at least once.Slapping was the most common act of physical violence by husbands. More than 34% of womensaid their husbands slapped them, while 15% said their husbands pulled their hair or twisted theirarm. Around 14% of the women had things thrown at them.The NFHS also states that an overwhelming majority of women who reported domestic violencewere first assaulted by their husbands less than two years into their marriage. According to thefigures, 62% experienced physical or sexual violence within the first two years of marriage, while32% experienced violence in the first five years.India’s latest and most comprehensive survey also found that one in six wives had been emotionallyabused by their husbands, while one in 10, or 10%, have experienced sexual violence like maritalrape on at least one occasion.Low levels of education clearly play a major role in this horrifying trend -- over 47% of women whoreported domestic violence had no education, compared with 12% among women with 12 or moreyears of education. The figure was 16% for women who had completed high school.According to the NFHS figures, domestic violence is most common in Bihar -- the percentage ofabused women is 59%, with 63% of incidents reported among urban women. Bihar was followed byRajasthan (46.3%), Madhya Pradesh (45.8%), Manipur (43.9%), Uttar Pradesh (42.4%), Tamil Nadu(41.9%), and West Bengal (40.3%).Meanwhile, the tiny, ‘less developed’ but highly progressive hill state of Himachal Pradesh reportedthe lowest incidence of abuse by husbands -- a mere 6%.Women belonging to scheduled caste and scheduled tribe communities reportedly experienced themost spousal abuse, with one in three reporting having been beaten by their husbands.Ironically, Buddhist women reported the highest levels of violence (41%) followed by Muslim andHindu women (34%-35%) and Sikh and Christian women (26%-28%). Women from the Jaincommunity reported the lowest levels of violence -- 13%.With regard to attitudes to domestic violence, the NFHS found that 41% of women thought thathusbands were justified in slapping their wives if the latter showed disrespect to their in-laws.Meanwhile, a substantial 35% of women thought they deserved a brutal beating at the hands of theirspouses if they neglected doing the household chores or looking after their children.Given this attitude towards domestic violence from the victims themselves, it is unsurprising thatnearly 51% of the 75,000 Indian men surveyed think hitting or beating their wives is acceptable forcertain reasons, particularly if she disrespects her in-laws. A smaller number think bad cooking orrefusing sex is reasons for physically assaulting their wives.Experts say the way women in India are brought up explains why only one in four abused women 7
  8. 8. seek help to try and end the violence their husbands mete out to them. For instance, only 2% ofwomen who faced domestic violence sought intervention from the police.G C Chaturvedi, director, National Rural Health Mission, says: “In India, the worst problem we faceis that victims in almost all states don’t feel victimised, both in case of dowry or spousal violence.They feel being beaten up or tortured by their husbands is all right. They have been groomed tobelieve that. We are trying to change this mindset by educating and empowering more women,making them aware of their rights. It will take some time to change people.”Commenting on NFHS findings on the widespread social acceptability of gender-based physicalabuse by a partner, Dr Sulabha Parasuraman of the International Institute of Population Studies(IIPS) says the attitude of Indian women is “truly shocking”. “Men are brought up being taught thatbeating up their wives isn’t wrong, while women are told that being assaulted by their husbands isacceptable. Girls are taught that they can be punished by their husbands for disobedience. This socialattitude has to change immediately.”The IIPS spearheaded the survey on domestic violence for the NFHS that was jointly conducted by18 organisations.The Constitution of India guarantees the following Fundamental Rights that guide us to challengedomestic violence.Article 14- equal rights and opportunities for men and women in the political, economic and socialsphereArticle 15- prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sex, religion, caste etcArticle 15(3) - empowers the State to take affirmative measures for womenArticle 16- provides for equality of opportunities in the matter of public appointmentsHistorical Background to Campaign for Protection of Women and children from Domesticviolence Act:In 1983, domestic violence was recognised as a specific criminal offence by the introduction of section498-A into the Indian Penal Code. This section deals with cruelty by a husband or his family towards amarried woman. Four types of cruelty are dealt with by this law:•Conduct that is likely to drive a woman to suicide,•Conduct which is likely to cause grave injury to the life, limb or health of the woman,•Harassment with the purpose of forcing the woman or her relatives to give some property, or•Harassment because the woman or her relatives is unable to yield to demands for more money or doesnot give some property.What are the forms of "cruelty" recognised by the Courts?•Persistent denial of food,•Insisting on perverse sexual conduct,•Constantly locking a woman out of the house,•Denying the woman access to children, thereby causing mental torture,•Physical violence,•Taunting, demoralising and putting down the woman with the intention of causing mental torture,•Confining the woman at home and not allowing her normal social intercourse, 8
  9. 9. •Abusing children in their mothers presence with the intention of causing her mental torture,•Denying the paternity of the children with the intention of inflicting mental pain upon the mother, and•Threatening divorce unless dowry is given.What is a "matrimonial home"? What rights do women have in their matrimonial home?The matrimonial home is the household a woman shares with her husband; whether it is rented, officially provided, or owned by the husband or his relatives. A woman has the right to remain in the matrimonial home along with her husband as long as she is married, though there is no definite law regarding this right. If a woman is being pressurised to leave the matrimonial home, she can ask the Court for an injunction or "restraining order" protecting her from being thrown out.This can usually be obtained quite easily. It is generally advisable not to leave the matrimonial home; it is easier to get a court order preventing a woman being thrown out than to get an order enforcing her right to return to it once she has left or been thrown out.What is an Injunction and how does it apply to domestic violence cases?An injunction is a court order directing a person to do or not to do something. A woman has a lot of flexibility regarding what she can request the Court to order. For instance, if she is being stalked by somebody (including her husband), she can obtain injunctions against the person coming near her home or place of work, or even telephoning her.What can be done in the case of dowry-related harassment or dowry death?•Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code covers dowry-related harassment. As with other provisions ofcriminal law, a woman can use the threat of going to court to deter this kind of harassment. The IndianPenal Code also addresses dowry deaths in section 304-B. If a woman dies of "unnatural causes" withinseven years of marriage and has been harassed for dowry before her death, the Courts will assume thatit is a case of dowry death. The husband or in-laws will then have to prove that their harassment wasnot the cause of her death. A dowry death is punishable by imprisonment of at least seven years. Whenfiling an FIR (First Information Report), in a case where a woman is suspected to have been murderedafter a history of torture due to dowry demands, the complaint should be filed under section 304-Brather than under section 306, which deal with abetment to suicide. Section 306 should be invokedwhen a woman commits suicide because of dowry-related harassment.Can you refuse to have sex with your husband? Is there a law on marital rape?•Since India does not have a law on marital rape, even if a womans husband has sexual intercoursewith her without her consent, he cannot be prosecuted for rape. However, excessive and unreasonabledemands for sex, or demands for unnatural sex have been considered forms of cruelty and may entitle awoman to a divorce.•If a woman is judicially separated, her husband cannot have sexual intercourse with her without herconsent. If he does, he can be prosecuted under section 376-A of the IPC. Note that consent underpressure (e.g. because of threats to injure or to stop paying maintenance) is not considered valid.What can a woman do to prevent domestic violence?•One option is to get the womans husband to execute a "bond to keep peace", or a "bond of goodbehaviour "through the Executive, Magistrate who can order the husband to put a stop to domesticviolence. The husband can also be asked to deposit securities (i.e. money or property) that will beforfeited if he continues to act violently. 9
  10. 10. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 •Recognition of the right to residence •Provision for the appointment of Protection officers and the recognition of Service Providers •Trainings for Protection Officers and Judges •Awareness creation •Budgetary allocationDistinction between Civil and Criminal Law•The distinction between civil and criminal law is a basic part of the Indian legal system. Civil lawsdeal with the rights and obligations of people and what is needed to protect them, while criminal lawdeals with offences and their punishment. In a criminal offence, the State takes upon itself theresponsibility to investigate and collect evidence (through the police), to fight the case in court (througha public prosecutor) and enforce the punishment. Robbery, murder and kidnapping are examples ofcriminal offences. Criminal offences are dealt with by the Indian Penal Code (IPC).•The procedure by which a criminal trial is conducted is quite different from the processes involved in acivil trial. An important difference is that the "standard of proof" required in criminal cases is muchhigher than in civil cases. Since criminal law is centrally linked with issues of punishment, allegationsand facts must be proved "beyond reasonable doubt", so that innocent people are not punished. In civilcases, the courts scrutinise the "balance of probabilities" before deciding in whose favour to make ajudgment.• Both civil and criminal laws apply in case of DV.•Inflicting physical violence on a wife or daughter-in-law as well as subjecting her to cruelty - physical,mental, sexual or emotional and economic - in a marriage is not only a civil offence and providesground for divorce (a "matrimonial offence"), but is also a criminal offence under the Indian PenalCode, for which a person can be imprisoned. The laws dealing with marital abuse have been made verystringent through amendments in the Indian Penal Code and the Evidence Act (Jaising, 2001). Implementation of laws To make the laws concerning women the state needs to strengthen the machinery for their implementation. Important steps in this regard are:•Appointment and empowerment of statutory authorities at the central and state levels.•Preparation of policy statements by such statutory authorities enclosing clear guidelines on the mannerof implementation of the law such as code of conduct to be followed by functionaries, provision of bestpractices, etc.•Evaluation and auditing the effectiveness of particular laws and the periodic publication andsubmission of compliance reports with a central statutory authority.•Upgrading the quality of statistics maintained on women. Each statutory body to conduct yearlysurveys in their particular field.•Building capacity of the functionaries appointed under the law such as statutory authorities, policepersonnel, health personnel, counselors, etc by conducting regular trainings on the law includingaspects of gender sensitisation as well as improving practices followed by them. 10
  11. 11. •Introducing mechanisms to ensure quicker and simpler procedures for women to obtain legal redress totheir problems. This would include the provision of legal aid, assistance at the time of registeringcomplaints, making applications, provision of information on the legal options available to the womenetc.• Raising awareness of the services and support available to women facing discrimination, from bothgovernmental and non governmental sources.•Ensuring adequate representation of women in statutory advisory bodies/ policy making bodies.•Sustained interactions between different governmental agencies to promote multi agency working.•Allocation of adequate budgets for the proper functioning of the statutory authorities.•Constant monitoring and auditing of accounts by a central authority.•Submission of financial reports to the Auditor General for it to be placed before on the floor of theParliament or State Legislature as the case may be.DILASA - Crisis Centre for treatment and counseling of women victims of violence in a publichospitalWith the aim to sensitise the public health system to gender and violence issues, CEHAT and the PublicHealth Department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation have established Dilaasa at K BBhabha Hospital, Bandra West. Dilaasa means Reassurance and it seeks to provide social andpsychological support to women survivors of domestic violence.This Centre has been set up in a peripheral public hospital in collaboration with BrihanmumbaiMunicipal Corporation (BMC). CEHAT will continue to provide support in terms of counseling andallied services to survivors of domestic violence for the next 3 years. The crisis centre model is beingreplicated in two other hospitals in Mumbai and one district hospital. In addition the activities willfocus on prevention of violence against women; community based support system for women survivorsof violence, research on violence faced by health care professionals and the violence which existswithin the system. It will also upscale the training function through regular Training of Trainersprogramme and a course for nurses on Gender Based Violence and their Role in Responding to theSurvivors of Violence. (Deoshali, Maghnani & Malik, 2005)Dilaasa believes that every woman has a right to a safe home, right to a life without violence. There isno excuse to domestic violence.Objectives:1. Provide social and psychological support to women coming to the centre.2. Sensitise the hospital staff to gender and violence issues.3. Train the hospital staff of the casualty and various out patient departments in identifying womenfacing domestic violence.4. Create a training cell in the hospital which would train the other staff of the hospital. 5. Network with other organisations working on womens issues for mutual support and sharing.Services:1. counseling: Trained counselors help women to build their strength so that they can rebuild their lives. 11
  12. 12. 2. Legal aid: Through our collaboration with Majlis and Lawyers Collective, we provide legal aid towomen. Lawyers are available twice a week at the centre.3. Temporary shelter: There is provision for temporary shelter for a short period at two shelters in thecity. The hospital also provides 24 hour shelter under medical observation.Activities:1. Training: is one of the ongoing activities of the centre. The hospital staff is being sensitised to genderissues so that they are able to screen women survivors of domestic violence and refer them to thecentre. A group of hospital staff has been trained as key trainers. A core group of 12 has emerged as thetraining cell of the hospital. They are now conducting training for the rest of the hospital staff. The coregroup also has intensive discussions/debates and mock sessions to review their role and develop furtheras trainers.2. Research: A few short studies were conducted in the initial phase to understand the hospital systemsand procedures. Every year we would analyse the counseling process based on the case records of thewomen registered at Dilaasa.3. Documentation: Every activity of the centre and its processes are being documented to enable us toevaluate the work of the centre.4. Networking: Dilaasa is networking with womens organisations, legal aid agencies, shelters and othergroups working with women survivors of domestic violence for mutual support, referral and sharing.Conclusion:There is a need for an affirmative action to protect girls, young and elderly women from domesticviolence and establish human rights for women. It must address the following areas of intervention.1. Improve Womens Economic Capacities: Improve womens access to and control of income and assets, recognize her shared right to the family home, and incorporate the principle of division of community property in divorce laws. Productive assets and property are critical to strengthening the economic and social status of women, providing income opportunities and improved respect for women outside marriage and family.2. Strengthen and expand Training and sensitization Programs: Programme designed to train, sensitize and inter-link those working at critical entry points to identify and treat abused women should be a priority, with one aim being increased accountability across institutions. Such programmes should be tailored for medical personnel, the judiciary, counseling and other support service providers.3. Dilaasa model of one stop crisis centre housed in the public hospital to facilitate collective intervention of medical staff, police and NGO must be replicated through out the country.4. Effective use of the Media to build Public Awareness: Mobilisation of communities around campaigns such as that for "Zero Tolerance of Violence" requires improved skills and capacity among NGOs to enter new forms of dialogue with journalists and media personnel to heighten awareness of human rights and their significance for addressing domestic violence. 12
  13. 13. 5. Programmes designed for the batterers: must be introduced in both the state and voluntary sectors. In order to promote a holistic approach to prevention as well as intervention, the deficiency in programmes designed for men needs to be addressed.6. Addressing Domestic Violence through Education: Prevention of domestic violence ultimately depends upon changing the norms of society regarding violence as means of conflict resolution and traditional attitudes about gender. To achieve this, there must be introduction of gender and human rights in the curricula of schools, universities, professional colleges, and other training colleges. Along with this, there must be recognition and commitment to the principle of free compulsory primary and secondary education for girls.References:Agnes, Flavia “Our Fight against Wife beating” in Rehana Ghadially Women in Indian Society-A Reader, SagePublications, Delhi, 1988.CWDS Crimes Against Women: Bondage and Beyond Centre for Womens Development Studies, New Delhi,2002.Deoshali, Padma, Purnima Maghnani and Dr. Seema Malik Establishing Dilaasa-Documenting the Challenges,Cehat, 2005.Ghaswala, Bakula “ ‘Astitva’ Battles Domestic violence” in Shirin Kudchedkar and Sabiha al-Issa ViolenceAgainst Women and Women Against Vilolence, Pencraft International, Delhi, 1998.ICRW Domestic Violence in India: A Summary Report of a Multi-site Household Survey, New Delhi, 2004.Jagori “Didnt We Ban It 40 Years Ago?” (2003), New Delhi www.jagori.orgLohia, Shaila “ Domestic Violence in rural Areas”, in Shirin Kudchedkar and Sabiha al-Issa Violence AgainstWomen and Women Against Vilolence, Pencraft International, Delhi, 1998.Mathur, Kanchan Countering Gender Violence: Initiatives towards Collective Action in Rajasthan ThousandOaks (California), Sage Publications, London. 2004.Dabir, Neela Women in Distress, Rawat Publications, JAIPUR, 2000.Jaising, Indira (Ed.) Law of Domestic Violence: A Users Manual for Women, The Lawyers Collective, Delhi,2001.Patel, Vibhuti Women’s Challenges of the New Millennium, Gyan Publications, Delhi, 2002.Patel, Tulsi (Ed.) Sex-Selective Abortion in India Gender, Society and New Reproductive Technologies, SagePublications, 2006. 13

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