Protection of Women from Domestic Violence, Act 2005
Domestic Violence remains one of the most prevalent yet largely invisible forms of violence. Contrary to the general belief, Domestic Violence is not restricted to certain social sections. Domestic Violence occurs in many forms- physical, emotional, sexual, economic, verbal, etc. Woman faces Domestic Violence as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, or a partner in her lifetime. As per the NCRB Report 2003, 36.1% of the total reported crimes against women relate to domestic violence. As per NFHS (2) 1998-99, 1 in 5 married women in India experience domestic violence from the age of 15.
Prior to Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDV) Act 2005, under the civil law, for acts of domestic violence a married woman can initiate proceeding for divorce/ judicial separation. However, this fails to provide any kind of immediate relief and protection to the woman. She remains at the mercy of her parents/ relatives. Also it leads to problems of costs and delays in litigation. Most commonly used provision of criminal law in dealing with cases of Domestic Violence is Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. It makes cruelty to a wife by her husband or relatives an offence and attracts a maximum punishment of three years on conviction. Limitation of this provision is that it is not aimed at providing reliefs, namely maintenance, shelter, etc. It is confined to the prosecution and possible conviction of the offender.
Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDV) Act 2005 recognizes the right of a woman to live in violence free home.
WHAT IS “DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
A “Physical abuse”- any act that causes bodily injury or hurt. E.g. beating, kicking, punching, etc.
B “Sexual abuse”- any humiliating or degrading sexual act. E.g. forced sexual intercourse etc.
C. “Verbal and emotional abuse”- insults, threat causing harm or injury.
D. “Economic abuse”- deprivation of the basic necessities of life.
Who can claim Relief
• Any woman facing violence in domestic relationship [S. 2(a)].
• Domestic relationships are relationships between a woman and a man living in a shared household.
Marriage -such as wives, daughter-in-laws, sister-in-laws, widows etc. with other members of the family.
Blood relationships-such as mothers-sons, sisters brothers, daughters- Fathers ,etc.
Other relations -through adoption, relationships in the nature of marriage (including victims of legally invalid marriages).
How can a woman get relief from the court
• Woman or any person on her behalf can give information of domestic violence to the PO, Police or the Magistrate (S. 4).
• Duty to inform of her right to make an application under DV Act, availability of services of POs (S. 5).
• Complaint to be registered by PO in Domestic Incident Report (DIR) format.
• DIR is a record of the fact that an incident of violence has been reported (similar to NCR).
• Copy of DIR to be forwarded by PO to the Magistrate and the police officer in charge of the police station in the jurisdiction.
• DIR be kept in record for future reference.
• An application for reliefs (S.12) under DV Act to Magistrate can be made by:
a. the woman herself, directly to the court,
b. through Protection Officer,
c. if there is a pending case between a woman and her husband and she can ask
for Orders under DV Act in that proceeding itself (S.26).
Major reliefs are available under Act
1. Protection Order (Section 18)
2. Residence Order(Section 19)
3. Monetary Relief(Section 20)
4. Custody Order(Section 21)
5. Compensation Order(Section 22)
6. Interim / Ex parte order(Section 23)
7. Breach of Protection Order (Section31) Violation of the Protection Order cognizable and non-bailable offence (Section 31-32).
Role of Protection Officer
Protection Officer as a facilitator helps woman:
• In registering complaints in DIR (Form I)
• Filing applications before the Magistrate for orders (Form II)
• Helping her in getting support like medical aid, shelter, legal aid, counseling etc.,
• Conducting field inquiries on court orders.
• Making sure that the orders passed by the court are enforced.
Brief Description of the Programme
Haryana state Government established Special Cells for Women and Children in each district to implement the protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006. It is established within the S.P.s office, to work with a clear understanding about Domestic Violence against Women and solemnization of Child Marriage is a crime against child and society.
Special cell for Women and Children
The Special Cell for Women and Children is a programme of the Department of WCD and Home, to work on the issue of Domestic Violence against Women and Child Marriages. The Special Cell undertakes its work within the Indian Constitution, and work towards ensuring that women and children are recognised as individuals, with equal rights and opportunities in society, including the opportunity to live peaceful violence-free life. The protection-cum-child marriage prohibition officer (PPO) appointed at each Special ell under Section 8 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDVA) and Section 16 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 (PCMA)
Objective of Special Cell
The Special Cells work is directed towards
1. Rebuilding violated women’s self-esteem, self-worth and dignity.
2. To perform the role of the Protection Officer under the PWDV Act, 2005.
3. To perform the role of the Prohibition Officer under the PCM Act, 2006.
4. Offer immediate services in cases of family violence and atrocities against women and Child Marriages.
5. Create awareness among women / children themselves, among professional groups and general public of the provisions of PWDV Act, 2005 and PCM Act, 2006.
6. Document the work done.
Steps taken by the WCD Department
• 21 Protection cum Prohibition Officers has appointed at district level to implement the Protection of Women from Domestic violence Act, 2005 and Prohibition of Child Marriage Act,2006. The office of Protection cum Prohibition Officer is located in the office of Superintendent of Police in each district. Protection cum Prohibition Officers(PPOs) work in cooperation with their subordinate staff i.e. one Clerk cum Data Entry Operator and one Multi-Purpose Worker to ensure effective implementation of Protection of Women from Domestic violence Act,2005 and Prohibition of Child Marriage Act,2006. Home Deptt. has also provided one male Constable and one female Constable for their assistance.
• One Consultant is appointed to co-ordinate with concerned stakeholders at HQ. PPOs at district level coordinates with concerned agencies for ensuring effective relief to victims such as legal aid, medical facility, shelter home, counselling etc.
• Twenty four organisations are registered as Service Providers under Protection of women from Domestic violence Act, 2005. All Government Hospitals, CHCs and PHCs are notified as Medical Facility. Mahila Ashram Rohtak, Karnal and Kasturba Sewa Sadan Faridabad are notified as shelter home.
• Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai has been engaged for training & capacity building of PPOs. PPOs intensively trained and sensitised on the relevant issues by experts with the support of TISS Mumbai and HIPPA Gurgaon.
• Haryana State Legal Services Authority has issued instructions to District Legal Services Authorities to set up legal aid clinics in Special Cells and to conduct legal literacy classes with the support of PPOs. Director General Health Services has been issued directions to all Civil Surgeons in the State to forward details of victims of domestic violence to Special Cells.
• To give wide coverage to provisions of Protection of women from Domestic violence in the Act, PPOs are conducting awareness activities at Village, Block & District level on weekly basis. Radio jingles are aired from AIR stations and publicity campaign in newspapers launched on the eve of Women Day and folders on Special Cells are circulated to stakeholders for awareness generation.
Under this programme a sum of Rs. 322.4 lacs has been spent from the year 2007-2008 to 2013.