Practice Area

Domestic Violence

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence (DV) – also called intimate partner abuse, spousal abuse, intimate partner violence (IPV), dating violence, and domestic abuse — takes many forms. Maltreatment that takes place in the context of any romantic relationship is abuse as described by the above specific terms. It therefore affects women, men, or teenage girls and boys, whether in a married or unmarried heterosexual or homosexual relationship. Intimate partner violence may consist of one or more forms, including, psychological, physical, emotional, sexual, or economic abuse and is defined as one person in an intimate relationship using any means to put down or control the other. Many victims of domestic violence are not able to get legal help and are afraid to ask but we assure you that our LAW NATURALE (Law Firm) will do our best to help you legally with the help of our Domestic Violence lawyers.

Types of Domestic Violence

Types of domestic abuse include physical, verbal (also called emotional, mental, or psychological abuse), sexual, economic or financial, and spiritual abuse. Stalking and cyber-stalking are also forms of intimate partner abuse.

  • Physically abusive behaviors include assault of any kind, ranging from pushing, pinching, hitting, or slapping to choking, shooting, stabbing, and murder.
  • Verbal, emotional, mental, or psychological violence is described as using words to criticize, demean, or otherwise decrease the confidence of the wife, husband, or other intimate partner victim.
  • Sexual abuse refers to any behavior that uses sex to control or demean the victim, like intimidating the victim into engaging in unsafe sex or sexual practices in which he or she does not want to participate.
  • Economic or financial abuse is described as threatening or otherwise limiting the victim’s financial freedom or security.
  • Spiritual abusers either force the victim to participate in the batterer’s religious practices instead of their own or to raise mutual children in a religion that the victim is not in favor of.
  • Stalking refers to repeatedly harassing and threatening behavior, including showing up at the victim’s home or workplace, placing harassing phone calls, voicemail, email or postal mail messages, leaving unwanted items, or vandalizing the victim’s property. It is usually committed by perpetrators of other forms of domestic violence.

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 gives the legal definition of “Domestic Violence” under Section 3. The DV Act is applicable to whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. It is a civil law which focuses on the reliefs given to the aggrieved woman such as compensation, protection, right to residence in the “shared household” etc., unlike in the criminal law, where the prime focus is on punishing the accused. It covers all kinds of violence faced by a woman at her “shared household”.

The DV Act is applicable to all women, irrespective of their marital status, age or religious beliefs. The broad definition of “domestic violence” under the DV Act protects the rights of women guaranteed to them under the Indian Constitutional, to achieve a violence free home. Our Firm (Law Naturale) is especially very good at handling the Domestic Violence cases and we offer the best legal help in Delhi.

To minimize the unwieldy position of law, be it procedural or substantive, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was enacted to protect the women from acts of domestic violence.

The legislative intent was further emphasized by the Supreme Court of India in the case of Indra Sarma vs. V.K.V Sarma, (2013) 15 SCC 755 wherein it was stated that the DV Act is enacted to provide a remedy in civil law for the protection of women, from being victims of such relationship, and to prevent the occurrence of domestic violence in the society.


The definition provided in Section 3 of the DV Act includes the following as acts of domestic violence:

“Any act, omission or commission or conduct of the respondent shall constitute domestic violence in case it—

(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.”

What are the causes or risk factors for intimate partner violence (IPV)?

Although there is no specific cause for domestic violence, women at the highest risk for being the victim of domestic violence include those with male partners who abuse drugs (especially alcohol), are unemployed or underemployed, afflicted by poverty, have not graduated from high school, and are or have been in a romantic relationship with the victim. Unmarried individuals in heterosexual relationships tend to be more at risk for becoming victims of intimate partner abuse. A mind-set that gives men power over women puts individuals at risk for becoming involved in an abusive relationship, either as a perpetrator or as a victim. Research shows that those who grew up in a household in which domestic violence took place or in which a parent suffered from alcoholism are more likely to become either perpetrators or victims of intimate partner violence as adults. Teenagers who suffer from mental illness are also at risk for being an abusive relationship as young adults.

Service Providers

A victim of domestic violence may require various services such as shelter home or safe accommodation, medical aid, child care, legal aid services and other community services. According to Section 10(1) of DV Act, the Service Providers are the NGOs, Companies or voluntary organizations working in the field of domestic violence and are registered under the laws of the State. Service Providers are duty bound to provide assistance and support to women facing domestic violence. A woman can go to a registered Service Provider to make a complaint under the DV Act. The duty of the service provider, as provided under Section 6 of the DV Act, upon receipt of request should be to provide shelter to the aggrieved person in the shelter home.

Filing a Complaint of Domestic Violence

An aggrieved woman, in order to file a complaint for domestic violence may:

  1. Approach the police station and register the complaint, or
  2. File a complaint to a Protection Officer or Service Provider, or
  3. Directly approach the Magistrate.

The duties of the police officers, Protection officer, Service Provider, or the Magistrate is laid down under Section 5 of the DV Act. It states that, upon receipt of complaint they shall inform the aggrieved person—

(a) of her right to make an application for obtaining a relief by way of a protection order, an order for monetary relief, a custody order, a residence order, a compensation order or more than one such order under this Act;

(b) of the availability of services of service providers;

(c) of the availability of services of the Protection Officers;

(d) of her right to free legal services under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987;

(e) of her right to file a complaint under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code , wherever relevant”

The Supreme Court emphasized that the Police has to look into the complaint made under the DV Act seriously and it cannot submit a report that no case is made out without proper verification, investigation, enquiry not only from members of family and relatives but also from neighbors, friends and others, which was stated in the case Santosh Bakshi v. State of Punjab, (2014) 13 SCC 25.

Which court is competent to decide the domestic violence case

Section 27 of the DV Act provides that a first class magistrate or metropolitan court shall be the competent court to grant a protection order and other orders under the DV Act and to try offences under the Act within the local limits of which:

(a) the person aggrieved permanently or temporarily resides or carries on business or is employed; or

(b) the respondent resides or carries on business or is employed; or

(c) the cause of action has arisen.

In a recent decision, the Supreme Court (SC) held that petition under DV Act can be filed in a court where “person aggrieved” permanently or temporarily resides or carries on business or is employed, Shyamlal Devda v. Parimala, (2020) 3 SCC 14.

Reliefs available under the Domestic Violence Act

The remedies available under the DV Act as provided from Section 18 to 23 for the aggrieved person are as follows:

Section 18- Protection orders:

The Magistrate may, after giving the aggrieved person and the respondent an opportunity of being heard and on being prima facie satisfied that domestic violence has taken place or is likely to take place, pass a protection order in favour of the aggrieved person and prohibit the respondent from—

(a) committing any act of domestic violence;

(b) aiding or abetting in the commission of acts of domestic violence;

(c) entering the place of employment of the aggrieved person or, if the person aggrieved is a child, its school or any other place frequented by the aggrieved person;

(d) attempting to communicate in any form, whatsoever, with the aggrieved person, including personal, oral or written or electronic or telephonic contact;

(e) alienating any assets, operating bank lockers or bank accounts used or held or enjoyed by both the parties, jointly by the aggrieved person and the respondent or singly by the respondent, including her stridhan or any other property held either jointly by the parties or separately by them without the leave of the Magistrate;

(f) causing violence to the dependants, other relatives or any person who give the aggrieved person assistance from domestic violence;

(g) committing any other act as specified in the protection order.

Section 19 – Residence Order:

The Magistrate may pass a residence order

  1. a) restraining the respondent from dispossessing or in any other manner disturbing the possession of the aggrieved person from the shared household, whether or not the respondent has a legal or equitable interest in the shared household;

(b) directing the respondent to remove himself from the shared household;

(c) restraining the respondent or any of his relatives from entering any portion of the shared household in which the aggrieved person resides;

(d) restraining the respondent from alienating or disposing off the shared household or encumbering the same;

(e) restraining the respondent from renouncing his rights in the shared household except with the leave of the Magistrate; or

(f) directing the respondent to secure same level of alternate accommodation for the aggrieved person as enjoyed by her in the shared household or to pay rent for the same, if the circumstances so require.

The proviso clause for the section states that no order shall be passed under clause (b) against any person who is a woman.

Section 20 -Monetary Relief:

Under Section 20 of DV Act, an order for monetary relief can be passed by the court in case a woman has incurred expenditure as a result of violence. This may include expenses incurred by a woman on obtaining medical treatment, any loss of earnings, damage to property, etc. The aggrieved person can also claim for maintenance from her male partner.

The Magistrate may direct the respondent to pay monetary relief to meet the expenses incurred and losses suffered by the aggrieved person and any child of the aggrieved person as a result of the domestic violence and such relief may include, but is not limited to,—

(a) the loss of earnings;

(b) the medical expenses;

(c) the loss caused due to the destruction, damage or removal of any property from the control of the aggrieved person; and

(d) the maintenance for the aggrieved person as well as her children, if any, including an order under or in addition to an order of maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 or any other law for the time being in force.

It has also been provided in the section that the monetary relief provided should be adequate, fair and reasonable and consistent with the standard of living to which the aggrieved person is accustomed. In case there is a failure in part of the respondent to make payment in terms of the monetary order, the Magistrate may direct the employer or a debtor of the respondent, to directly pay to the aggrieved person or to deposit with the court a portion of the wages or salaries or debt due to or accrued to the credit of the respondent, which amount may be adjusted towards the monetary relief payable by the respondent.

Section 21 – Custody Orders:

The Magistrate may grant temporary custody of the children to the aggrieved woman or any person making an application on her behalf. This is to prevent a woman from being separated from her children, which itself is an abusive situation. Section 21 also states that the Magistrate may, at any stage of hearing of the application for protection order or for any other relief under this Act grant temporary custody of any child or children to the aggrieved person or the person making an application on her behalf and specify, if necessary, the arrangements for visit of such child or children by the respondent. However, the Magistrate may refuse such visit to such child or children, if it feels that any visit to the child or children by the respondent may be harmful.

Section 22 – Compensation Orders:

The Magistrate may on an application being made by the aggrieved person, pass an order directing the respondent to pay compensation and damages for the injuries, including mental torture and emotional distress, caused by the acts of domestic violence committed by that respondent.

Section 23 – Magistrate’s power to grant interim and ex parte orders:

Section 23 gives power to the Magistrate to pass such interim order as he deems just and proper and also if the Magistrate is satisfied that an application prima facie discloses that the respondent is committing, or has committed an act of domestic violence or that there is a likelihood that the respondent may commit an act of domestic violence, he may grant an ex parte order on the basis of the affidavit in such form, as may be prescribed, of the aggrieved person under Section 18, Section 19, Section 20, Section 21 or, as the case may be, Section 22 against the respondent.

What can Law Naturale do to help?

We can provide you with all the legal guidance and help, you need in this matter as we have the best Domestic Violence Lawyers and Consultants for you. Our firm has good experience in domestic violence matters and have dealt with many cases and we hope that we will be able to give the best to you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the laws available for Protection of Women from Domestic Violence?

The most recent legislation is The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

Are women in Live-in-relationship protected under Domestic Violence law in India?

Yes, The Supreme Court of India, for the first time in the case of S. Khushboo vs. Kanniammal (2010) gave legal recognition to live-in relationships by categorizing them as “domestic relationships” protected under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (“DV Act”). The Court held that a live-in relationship comes within the ambit of the right to life enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The Court further held that live-in relationships are permissible and that the act of two adults living together, in any case, cannot be considered illegal or unlawful.

Can men file case against his wife for domestic violence?


What steps should men take if he is falsely accused of domestic violence against his wife?

The alleged defendant will require advocacy on their behalf by a knowledgeable lawyer and you can contact our law firm (Law Naturale) which has exceptionally good lawyers and consultants on these matters, we assure you our full support. Contact info-

What is the difference between Section 498A of IPC and domestic violence case?

DV is known for the complaint related to any violence against women for example, mental, physical, verbal, emotional, etc where immediate proof is not available. Whereas section 498A is considered as more heinous way of complaint, in this complaint a direct FIR can be registered and earlier direct arrests too.

Does domestic violence guarantee divorce?


Is domestic violence punishable under criminal law?

Yes, it is punishable under section 31 only and the rest is civil in nature.

What is process of filing Domestic Violence cases in India?

A woman has to file a petition in the nearest Mahila court or First Class Magistrate.

What are the helplines for women suffering from domestic violence?

Help Available on-

  • National Commission for Women Helpline – 7827170170
  • Shakti Shalini – 10920
  • Shakti Shalini women’s shelter    – (011) 24373736/ 24373737
  • SAARTHAK- (011) 26853846/ 26524061
  • All India Women’s Conference- 10921/ (011) 23389680
  • Nirmal Niketan- (011) 27859158
  • Nari Raksha Samiti – (011) 23973949

Can men experience domestic abuse?

While it is recognized and documented in research and statistics that the majority of domestic abuse is perpetrated by men against women, it is also acknowledged and becoming increasingly recognized that men can experience abuse from female partners and in male gay relationships. It can be difficult for men to accept that they are experiencing domestic violence and the stigma and shame attached to the issue can be a huge barrier in accessing support.

What are the role of non-governmental organizations in Domestic Violence cases?

They provide help and support to woman’s both legally and socially.

Whom should I approach if I need a medical help due to the abuse that I suffered?

If you need urgent medical attention, call for an ambulance. If you need any other support, contact a health care provider.

Can a lady claim Maintenance under Domestic Violence Act?


Who is most vulnerable?

Women who are displaced, who are migrants or refugees, and those living in conflict-affected areas, older women and women with disabilities are particularly at risk of violence and are likely to be disproportionately affected by violence during COVID-19.