Causes of Domestic Violence In India


Domestic violence is violence committed by someone in the victim’s domestic circle. This includes partners and ex-partners, immediate family members, other relatives and family friends.

The term ‘domestic violence’ is used when there is a close relationship between the offender and the victim. There is usually a power gap between them. The victim is dependent on the offender. Domestic violence can take the form of physical, sexual or psychological abuse.

Domestic violence (also named domestic abuse or family violence) is violence or other abuse in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation. Domestic violence is often used as a synonym for intimate partner violence, which is committed by one of the people in an intimate relationship against the other person, and can take place in heterosexual or same-sex relationships or between former spouses or partners. In its broadest sense, domestic violence also involves violence against children, parents, or the elderly. It takes multiple forms, including physical, verbal, emotional, economic, religious, reproductive, and sexual abuse, which can range from subtle, coercive forms to marital rape and to violent physical abuse such as choking, beating, female genital mutilation, and acid throwing that results in disfigurement or death. Domestic murders include stoning, bride burning, honor killing, and dowry death (which sometimes involve non-cohabitating family members).

Domestic violence often occurs when the abuser believes that abuse is an entitlement, acceptable, justified, or unlikely to be reported. It may produce an intergenerational cycle of violence in children and other family members, who may feel that such violence is acceptable or condoned. Many people do not recognize themselves as abusers or victims because they may consider their experiences as family conflicts that got out of control. Awareness, perception, definition and documentation of domestic violence differs widely from country to country. Domestic violence often happens in the context of forced or child marriage.


  • child abuse;
  • senior abuse;
  • honour-based violence such as honour killings, female genital mutilation (‘female circumcision’) and forced marriage;
  • all forms of abuse by an intimate partner or former intimate partner, including psychological abuse and stalking.


There is no uniform or single reason that leads to domestic violence. It is a combination of various sociological/behavioral, historical, religious, and cultural factors that lead to perpetration of domestic violence against women.

  • Sociological/Behavioral Factors: The sociological, behavioral and cultural factors include factors like anger issues/aggressive attitude, poverty/economic hardship, difference in status, controlling/dominating nature, drug addiction, upbringing and psychological instability (bipolarism, depression, stress, etc.) among others. Neglect of conjugal responsibilities due to extra-marital affairs or lack of trust also contributes to domestic violence.
  • Historical Factors: Historical factors can be traced back to the inherent evil of patriarchy and superiority complex that has prevailed for centuries among men.
  • Religious Factors: A subtle form of domination on women, if not direct and glaring, reflects in the religious sanctifications. This also contributes to perpetration of domestic violence against women.
  • Cultural Factors: Cultural Factors leading to domestic violence include the desire for a male child. This obsession resulting from the lack of awareness and inherent male superiority leads to perpetration of domestic violence against women.This is not an exhaustive list of factors and the motivations or triggers behind domestic violence may vary.
  • Dowry: Dowry is a form of socio-cultural factor. But, it becomes important to separately mention it because of the rampant domestic violence cases resulting from illegal demand of dowry. This was realised by the Parliament also because dowry- related domestic violence has been made a separate head in the scope of abuse resulting in domestic violence under the Domestic Violence Act.


The Domestic Violence Act, 2005 makes no provision for men to lodge cases of domestic violence against women owing largely to the fact that The Domestic Violence Act is primarily welfare legislation. Although, an aggrieved man can file for Divorce/Judicial Separation on the ground of Cruelty, i.e., Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act(2).

Indian domestic violence laws are silent on the protection required to men from domestic violence. However, the Supreme Court of India has recognized the need for protection to men from acts of domestic violence in Narayan Ganesh Dastane V. Sucheta Narayan Dastane and more recently in Hiral P Harsora vs Kusum Narottamdas Harsora. In the former case, the Apex Court for the first time recognized cruelty against men. Cruelty and violence against men should be recognized by law in clear words for gender-neutral society. Additionally, with the decriminalization of homosexuality in India, it becomes pertinent that the domestic violence advocacy of men’s right for protection from domestic violence gains traction.


  • Under the Domestic Violence Act, any woman who is aggrieved or anyone who has been a witness to the act can approach the nearest Police Station, Protection Officer and a Service Provider. The court can appoint a protection officer to enforce its orders. The protection officer is a special post created to serve as a liaison between victims of domestic violence and the system. One can also file a complaint directly with the magistrate for obtaining orders of reliefs under the Domestic Violence Act. Anyone who provides information about the offence committed to the concerned authorities is absolved of any civil/criminal liability
  • Post the complaint, the court is required to instate a hearing within three days of the complaint being filed
  • If the court finds that the complaint is genuine, the court passes a protection order
  • A complaint can also be filed under Section 498-A of the India Penal Code which recognizes the offence of matrimonial cruelty and prescribes criminal penalty.


If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you’re hesitating—telling yourself that it’s none of your business, you might be wrong, or that the person might not want to talk about it—keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save their life.

Talk to the person in private and let them know that you’re concerned. Point out the signs you’ve noticed that worry you. Tell the person that you’re there for them, whenever they feel ready to talk. Reassure them that you’ll keep whatever is said between the two of you, and let them know that you’ll help in any way you can.

Remember, abusers are very good at controlling and manipulating their victims. People who have been emotionally or physically abused are often depressed, drained, scared, ashamed, and confused. They need help getting out of the situation, yet their partner has often isolated them from their family and friends.

By picking up on the warning signs and offering support, you can help someone escape an abusive situation and begin healing.

Do’s and Don’ts
Ask if something is wrongWait for the person to come to you
Express your concernBlame or judge them
Listen and validatePressure them to act
Offer to helpGive advice
Support their decisionsPlace conditions on your support


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