According to the National Family Health Survey, 2019-2021, around 29% of women between the ages of 18 and 49 have experienced some form (physical and/or sexual) of spousal violence.

According to National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-16, 30% of women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15, and 6%  have ever experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. The most common type of spousal violence is physical violence (30%), followed by emotional violence (14%). Around 7% of married women have experienced spousal sexual violence.

Only 14% of women who have been subjected to some form of physical or sexual violence have asked for assistance to stop the violence. The majority (65%) of women who have experienced physical or sexual violence and sought help have done so from their own families. The husband’s family (29%) has been the second most common source of assistance, and 15% of women have sought help from a friend. The police are the most frequent institutional source of assistance (3%).

Here’s What the Primer Covers

Given this context and the fact that many women facing domestic violence are unaware of their rights, including what sort of behaviour constitutes violence, iProbono has created an accessible resource explaining what domestic violence is and what protections the law provides to those facing it. 

Our short film in Hindi breaks down the legal jargon and explains what domestic abuse is under the law and what survivors can do to fight it. Through it, we hope to enable more women to seek help and protection. 

What Constitutes Domestic Violence?

Our panel lawyer, Advocate Bihu Sharma, explains what behaviour and actions constitute domestic violence in India under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence (PWDV) Act, 2005.

How Can the Law Help You?

Sharma explains how to report violence and the kinds of relief a woman can expect from the judicial system. In order to highlight the best practices and legal recourse available to women, she relies on her 15+ years of experience working on civil and family law cases in court.

NGOs Helping Domestic Violence Survivors

Dr Bharti Sharma from Shakti Shalini, our partner NGO, discusses the different avenues of support available to women facing domestic violence. Shakti Shalini supports survivors of gender and sexual violence and works with communities to prevent violence on a day-to-day basis.Urvashi Tilak from Counsel to Secure Justice(CSJ) then explains the impact of domestic violence on families. CSJ works to improve child protection services and provides children with better access to justice.

Resources Available to Women

Lastly, Priya Watwani, Senior Program Officer at iProbono, shares essential resources, including helplines and websites where women can file a complaint.

Here are some important websites with lists of protection officers, lawyers, and other resources, including information on the laws protecting women.

  1. National Commission for Women
  2. Ministry of Women and Child Development
  3. Special Police Unit for Women and Children

How to Use This Resource

We encourage the dissemination of this short fill so that it may benefit as many women and girls as possible. We hope that it not only builds awareness and legal education amongst women but helps stakeholders gain a more comprehensive understanding of the law. 

If you or someone you know is facing any form of domestic violence, you can call 1091 (women helpline), the NCW 24×7 Helpline: 7827-170-170, or any other relevant helpline on this NCW list.

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