Are you a domestic violence victim in India? Learn about types of domestic abuse and domestic violence survivors, counselling helplines, and support in India.
If you’re a domestic violence victim in India or know someone who is experiencing domestic violence, this article will help you understand what is domestic violence and how to empower yourself against domestic violence.
You’ll also learn how to find online counsellors for online counselling in India or domestic violence counselling, helplines and support in India.
आपको लगता है कुछ गलत हो रहा है या नहीं भी लगता पर तकलीफ होती है तो वो घरेलु हिंसा हो सकती हैं। अपने शक, सवाल या जो भी बात आप पूछना चाहें कमेंट करें।
Are you facing domestic violence during lockdown? Helpline numbers have been overwhelmed during the COVID-19 lockdown, as calls to domestic violence hotlines have increased significantly.
If you don’t feel safe to talk about domestic violence during lockdown, but have access to a Smartphone and want a women’s helpline no for domestic violence, download the SHEROES app for women and connect on the AskSHEROES chat helpline.
If you feel you don’t deserve to be treated the way you’re being treated you may be experiencing domestic violence. Connect on the SHEROES helpline to understand everything you need to know about domestic violence.
What Is Domestic Violence In India?
The first step to overcoming domestic violence is learning about domestic violence, increasing domestic violence awareness and understanding domestic abuse meaning and what it entails.
Domestic violence is not only done by husbands. It is called domestic violence or domestic abuse even if it is by your parents, in-laws and other family members too.
A young schoolgirl being touched by any member of the family, teachers or older people, on her breasts or her rear is also an act of violence. In fact, incest and child sexual abuse are common forms of domestic violence in India.
Are you being harassed by your husband or in-laws? Do they blame you for everything? Were you asked to leave your marital home? Can you force your parents to provide for you? What are the signs of emotional abuse from parents?
Women in India have many legal rights that can make a huge difference in their present life and future. Know your legal rights and understand the laws against domestic violence in India, so you can be confident, aware and also fearless.
If you have any legal issues or queries about your legal rights, post your questions on the SHEROES app for women and get free legal advice on legal protection against domestic violence in India from a domestic violence lawyer.
Types of domestic abuse
The signs of domestic violence (DV) are not always obvious and a lot of women don’t report that they’re being abused. Even the woman’s own family is not always supportive at such times, because of the shame and guilt that surrounds such issues.
However, domestic violence is a serious threat to women in India, so you need to know the signs of an abusive relationship and how to react to the situation.
Section 498a of the Indian Penal Code pertains to cruelty to women. It states that –
One concern that women face is understanding what comes under domestic violence and how to prove domestic violence in India. There are many types of domestic violence, including:
According to Susmita Barman, domestic violence isn’t only about heated arguments, physical abuse or emotional torture. There’s also economic abuse which our society, family members, male members, neighbours, relations, friends and also women and girls consider to be normal.
What is economic abuse? When an abuser takes control of or limits access to shared or individual assets or limits the current or future earning potential of the victim as a strategy of power and control, that is economic abuse.
In economic abuse, the abuser separates the victim from her own resources, rights and choices, isolating the victim financially and creating a forced dependency for the victim and other family members.
- 10 Abusive Behaviour Signs: What Is Abusive Behaviour In A Relationship?
- Feeling Disrespected In Relationships? 7 Signs Of Disrespect In Relationships
The cycle of violence
Domestic abuse falls into a common pattern or cycle of violence. Your abuser’s apologies and loving gestures in between the episodes of abuse can make it difficult to leave. If you’re being abused, watch the video below to understand the pattern you may have fallen into.
The cycle of violence describes the phases an abusive relationship moves through in the lead up to a violent event and its follow-up.
It also explores why women stay in abusive relationships for reasons beyond low self-esteem, isolation, family pressures and lack of community support.
It will help you understand why women are often reluctant to leave a violent abuser or even admit that they are being abused.
According to The Recovery Village, if you’re in an abusive relationship, you may think there’s no way out. But there is, and the dangers of staying can be far worse than those of leaving. Remaining in the toxic, dangerous environment of domestic violence can put your life at risk.
Staying could put others in your life at risk as well. Oftentimes, abusers take their anger out on anyone in their path, even — or especially — children. And aside from the obvious physical dangers of abuse, there are a number of potential emotional consequences to keep in mind for everyone involved, including depression.
Domestic Violence Facts In India
What are the causes of violence against women in India? Lack of gender sensitization, misogyny, patriarchal attitudes, and lack of healthy relationship models are the most common reasons for violence against women.
Socio-economic status, substance and alcohol abuse also leads to violence against women in India. Children who are subjected to abuse are likely to behave similarly as adults. Sometimes children who witness one parent abusing the other tend to abuse others later in life.
Acid attacks, dowry deaths, female foeticide and infanticide, rape, emotional torture, child marriage, and forced marriage are all common acts of violence seen among women in India.
We are often asked the question – Domestic violence is present mostly in which families? People are often under the impression that domestic violence is present mostly in poor or elite family.
But domestic violence and abuse in India is not just a problem of the lower and middle classes. In fact, dowry harassment is very prevalent even among prominent and famous people too.
The victims of domestic violence include not just the wife, but the children and other family members, too. But, there is hope for women as there are strong laws against domestic violence and abuse in India.
Domestic violence Indian kanoon gives a lot of power to women, so there will always be some opportunistic women who will try to abuse the legal system by misusing the domestic violence act of India.
But just because people sometimes misuse the law does that mean we should not have laws? After all the statistics of domestic violence by husbands in India are horrific.
According to the National Family Health Survey (NHFS-4) released by the Union health ministry, every third woman, since the age of 15, has faced domestic violence of various forms in the country. Most of the times perpetrators of this violence have been the husbands.
The survey also found that 31% of married women have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence by their spouses. The most common type of spousal violence is physical violence (27%), followed by emotional violence (13%).
The domestic violence facts in India are truly horrifying and merit a serious discussion into the mind of the Indian abuser, the learned helplessness of the abused woman, and how to provide domestic violence support and legal help to domestic violence survivors.
Actor and director, Nandita Das, has released a short film titled Listen to Her, featuring herself and her son, on the rising cases of domestic violence in lockdown.
What Are The Effects Of Violence On Women?
The physical effects of violence on women include injury, loss of speech, aches and pain, burns, substance abuse, gynaecological issues, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy resulting in abortion… and the list just goes on.
Mental and emotional health problems, such as withdrawal, unsocial behaviour, multiple sexual partners, insomnia, depression and several others can also result.
Apart from this, when the knowledge of abuse reaches others in the community, abused women are often shunned and forced to live in isolation. In many cases, women suffer silently for this very reason.
They tolerate violence simply because of the fear of the consequences if they reported it and left their abuser. They don’t realize the consequences of putting up with domestic violence in the long run.
Interview With a Domestic Violence Counsellor
The television series, Big Little Lies, covers the cycle of violence in a way that everyone can understand and highlights the role that a supportive and compassionate counsellor plays in helping victims of domestic violence.
Naaree.com caught up with Barkha Bajaj, the Executive Director and Head counsellor for Aks Foundation, which specializes in domestic violence counselling in India and helps abused women deal with domestic violence situations in Pune.
In this interview, she outlines the options available to women suffering from domestic violence in India.
How severe is the problem of domestic violence in India?
It is quite severe – 80% of our calls are of domestic violence. Also, a lot of violence in India is not looked at as violence. As it is a patriarchy a lot of violence against women is expected and accepted.
What has been your experience with women who call in for help with domestic violence situations?
They need support more than anything else. There is a lot of self-blame, confusion, guilt and shame as they love their partners but are also fed up. A lot of them feel helpless and hopeless as they feel stuck in their situations.
How do the Aks Foundation and other organisations go about helping such women? What kind of support can women look to you for?
We provide 24/ 7 support through our crisis lines. Within Pune, we also provide legal support and advocacy where our volunteers go with the domestic violence survivors to the hospital or police station.
One line is dedicated to domestic violence counselling services. We also liaise with other NGOs or look for other domestic violence legal services in India if the call is outside Pune.
What is your advice to women who are suffering from domestic violence and dowry demands? What is the first thing they should do when faced with such a situation?
If they want to leave, the law is strong and they should use legal channels. However, the first thing is to tell someone they can trust and get support. Don’t hide it and suffer alone.
How can women be aware of signs of controlling men and those prone to Domestic Violence? Can we take clues from how his parents treat one another?
Well, there are red flags for eg:
- Extreme jealousy
- Isolating behaviours
- Controlling- who she sees, what she wears
- Intimidation and threats
- Emotional manipulation- making you feel guilty all the time
Power and control wheels are available online – which show you strategies used by perpetrators. (You can download a printable copy of the power and control wheel here to help you understand what you’re going through)
Women often overlook red flags, thinking they can change the man once they are married to him. What would you like to tell such women?
We can only change ourselves and we cannot change someone else unless they want to change. Trying to rescue and change someone is a lost battle.
What change in mindset is required, for women and their families, to avoid getting into a situation involving domestic violence?
Education – gender sensitization, talking about gender in general and gender-based violence. This should be part of all school curriculum.
What parting advice would you like to give young unmarried women in India?
Know the signs of power and control. Domestic Violence is about power and control so be aware. Also, if you feel in your gut it’s a bad decision – get counselling. Also, financial independence is important. 🙂
How To Empower Yourself Against Domestic Violence
My biggest life lessons have come from the realisation that people treat you the way you ALLOW yourself to be treated and that your relationship with others is a reflection of the relationship you have with yourself.
Watch this TED Talk where Katie Hood reveals the five signs you might be in an unhealthy relationship — with a romantic partner, a friend or a family member.
One step of the cycle of abuse is the fantasy that the abuser will improve. Please understand this – THEY WON’T!
- Don’t live in the false hope that things will get better someday.
- Don’t look to other people to save you from your abuser.
- No one can help you if you’re not willing to help yourself.
- Only YOU can take action on your own behalf – legally and emotionally.
An abusive partner regularly reinforces the idea that you can’t escape, and that you can’t manage without them, because this is what they want you to believe, so they can keep control of you.
So what to do when your husband beats you? You must get financial, legal and emotional help to get out of the situation before you become another domestic violence statistic in India.
Financial Self-Help Guide For Domestic Violence Survivors
Most domestic violence survivors also experience financial abuse, which is often used as a tool by the abuser to keep you in his control so you lack the financial independence to escape from his abuse.
In this comprehensive financial self-help guide for domestic violence survivors, you’ll learn financial tips for keeping your financial documents safe, how to inventory your assets and debts, and ways to start setting aside some money of your own.
While you can consult a financial lawyer to find out how much money or property you’re entitled to after the divorce, it is always best to work towards creating financial independence on your own.
Here are some ways that you can achieve financial independence, become a strong, independent woman and recover your self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Find work from home for women in India
- Get genuine online jobs for women in India
- Find work-from-home jobs without investment in India
- Find work-at-home business ideas for women in India
- Don’t have a degree? You can become an insurance agent
- Become an online tutor with these online teaching sites in India
- Download real money-earning apps in India
The MARS Partner program helps women get certified as remote professionals so they can apply for legitimate remote jobs in various roles – including customer service, sales/lead generation, content creation, travel, remote sales jobs in the insurance industry.
Emotional Self-Care For Domestic Violence Survivors
When people believe that they are powerless to control what happens to them, they start to act helpless. After enough conditioning, the person will stop any attempts to avoid the pain, even if they see an opportunity to escape.
You must overcome this habit of learned helplessness to achieve greater autonomy and break free of the limitations or the beliefs implanted by family and society that imprison you and keep you from choosing the freedom you deserve.
Learned helplessness is a phenomenon in which someone has been conditioned to anticipate discomfort in some way without having a way to avoid it or make it stop.
What you need to remember is that you have the power to change. You can extricate yourself from bad situations and negative people who hold you back and abuse you. You can learn how to overcome learned helplessness and improve your life.
Do you lack the courage to leave an abusive relationship? Chat with a counsellor on our free online counselling chat helpline for women so you can develop the inner resources and find the courage, support, and help to leave an abusive relationship.
Legal Help For Domestic Violence Survivors In India
Want to lodge a complaint against domestic violence? What are the domestic violence laws in India and how can a victim of domestic violence get redressal? Are there women’s shelters or women’s refuges in India where a domestic violence survivor can stay?
SHEROES Champion, Adv Megha Batra, offers some answers to commonly asked legal questions about domestic violence.
What’s the first legal step that women should take in case of abuse?
At the time of the abuse, you must complain to a police officer immediately and get the medical report done as this will be used as evidence.
If you’re not in a condition to go for a written complaint, Dial 100 (police helpline) as soon as possible, as the complaint is recorded automatically and this will help you proceed with legal action.
A complaint of mental or physical violence can be filed in court anytime, but at the time of filing the complaint, you need to list each and every fact and incident of abuse and torture.
Editor’s note: Be smart and record everything using your Smartphone audio or video, if possible. Do not delete abusive texts, emails, or anything that can be used as evidence in court.
What rights do daughters have if they are being abused by parents?
Daughters have the right to take protection from the court and an unmarried daughter can claim maintenance and other residential rights from her father. She can file a complaint against them as well.
Domestic violence cases can now be resolved out of court, with the help of NGOs, counsellors and police who can counsel a woman “with regard to the course of action which she can take including joint counselling/mediation with her spouse/husband or her family members/in-laws.”
The guidelines further state that a violated woman must be informed about her right to choose her future course of action and that she must be guided with regard to her legal rights under the Domestic Violence Act 2005.
To learn about the DV act, domestic violence complaint format, how to file a domestic violence case and what is the punishment for domestic violence in India, connect with a counsellor on the AskSHEROES free chat helpline for women.
If you want to know what domestic violence punishment in India you can inflict on your abusers, here’s my advice. If you’re facing domestic abuse, DON’T waste your time trying to take “revenge” on those who are trying to harm you.
It is a futile and endless journey and will leave you and your loved ones much worse off than if you just pick up your things, leave, and focus on building a new life for yourself and your children.
You must put all your energies into healing yourself and your children, not into punishing or getting back at your errant spouse. Moving forward and healing your emotional wounds is the ONLY way to get your life back.
Get free online counselling for depression, online relationship counselling, online marriage counselling and more on AskSHEROES free online counselling chat helpline for women.
More relationship tips:
- 7 Mindset Changes You Need To Leave A Bad Relationship
- Emotional Abuse Checklist: Learn The Warning Signs Of Emotional Abuse
- Feeling Disrespected In Relationships? 7 Signs Of Disrespect In Relationships
- 10 Abusive Behaviour Signs: What Is Abusive Behaviour In A Relationship?
- 3 Crucial Domestic Violence Laws In India: Know Them And Protect Yourself
- Domestic Violence As A Human Rights Violation
- Breaking Codependency: Is Your Codependent Marriage Ruining Your Life?
- How To Forget Someone You Love Deeply: 8 Practical Tips
- जिस व्यक्ति से आप प्यार करते थे उसे भूलने के आसान तरीके
- How To Deal With A Bully Husband
- Toxic Relationships: How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved
- Working Women Less Prone To Domestic Violence, Say Legal Experts
- How Should We Respond To Rape And Misogyny In India?
- Child Sexual Abuse: Healing From Incest As A Child Molestation Survivor
- How to Deal with Domestic Violence? – Your Safety is Important!
- Domestic Violence in Hindi: भारत में डोमेस्टिक वायलेंस (घरेलू हिंसा) के ऊपर संपूर्ण जानकारी
- What are the Constitutional & Legal Rights of Women In India? [Updated Sept’19]
Inspiring Domestic Violence Survivor’s Stories
Domestic Violence Helplines In India
In this post below, we’ve tried to provide some numbers of helplines for domestic violence in India. Except for the AskSHEROES chat helpline which is global, some of the helplines below may not cover all geographies.
But if your city or town is not listed below, you can contact the National Commission for Women (NCW) in Delhi.
And yes, we know that men are victims of domestic violence. As our inspiring domestic violence survivor and mindset coach, Ruchi Singh states, “When you go through pain, you realise that pain has no gender.”
The domestic violence helpline numbers below may be labelled as women’s domestic violence helpline in India, but they should also work as men’s domestic violence helplines in India because violence does not distinguish between its victims.
Please note: Any helplines for domestic violence in India are based on our research, and we are not responsible in case these domestic violence helplines do not work. Please report any domestic violence hotline numbers that are no longer active in the comments below and we will delete them.
AskSHEROES Free Online Counselling Chat Helpline
All-India Email Helpline
National Commission for Women – The apex national level organization of India with the mandate of protecting and promoting the interests of women.
National Commission for Women,
Plot No.21, FC33, Jasola Institutional Area,
Working Hours – 9 A.M. to 5:30 P.M.
Working Days – Monday to Friday
Emails for complaint redressal:
The National Commission for Women has launched a Whatsapp Number for help & assistance to women experiencing Domestic Violence in the wake of the COVID-19 Lockdown. See the tweet below for details.
— NCW (@NCWIndia) April 10, 2020
Domestic Violence Helpline In Pune
For women involved in a situation of Domestic Violence in Pune, please contact the helpline of the Aks Foundation in Pune below. This women’s helpline no for domestic violence is available 24/7.
Aks Helpline Numbers: 8793088814 to talk to our volunteers anytime.
For legal advice, call: 8793088815
For psychological counselling, call: 8793088816.
The following organisations can be contacted in Delhi:
Women’s Organisations In Delhi
Shakti Shalini: 1091/ 1291 (011) 23317004
Shakti Shalini Women’s Shelter: (011) 24373736/ 24373737
SAARTHAK: (011) 26853846/ 26524061
All India Women’s Conference: 10921/ (011) 23389680
JAGORI: (011) 26692700
Joint Women’s Programme (also has branches in Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai: (011) 24619821
Dial 1091 for Women’s Helpline in Bangalore/Bengaluru
Toll-Free No: 1091 (24/7)
Established in 1999 by the Bengaluru City Police, Vanitha Sahayavani provides immediate rescue and support for women in distress.
Accessible through toll-free number 1091, Vanitha Sahayavani provides free Tele-counselling, police assistance, crisis intervention, services in case of domestic violence, harassment and abuse. Vanitha Sahayavani operates from the Office of The Commissioner of Police – 24/7.
DIAL 1298 for Women’s Helpline in Mumbai
DIAL 1298 Women Helpline, a toll-free women-dedicated service managed by Ziqitza Healthcare in Mumbai has successfully helped more than 38,000 women in distress through its network of 80 partner NGOs.
Launched in 2008 with the support of 10 NGOs, DIAL 1298 Women Helpline offers women across socio-economic strata legal, psychological, psychiatric, trauma, medical and other kinds of counselling through its associations with a variety of women-oriented NGOs.
The Helpline addresses a wide range of complaints including dowry harassment, eve-teasing, abuse, domestic violence, cybercrime, divorce and maintenance, sexual harassment at the workplace, among others.
This domestic violence helpline was initially launched with the support of 10 NGOs and now works closely with over 80 NGOs in and around Mumbai.
DIAL 1298 Women Helpline is a referral helpline service. Any woman who needs help can DIAL 1298 and it will connect to Silver Innings Foundation.
The foundation will refer the caller to an NGO that will either address the issue at hand and provide counselling or negotiate with the family members to resolve the issue. In instances where the woman requires immediate assistance, then the call will be forwarded to 103 Police Helpline.
How Can We End Violence Against Women?
Promoting the education of the girl child and financial independence for women are the first steps towards increasing respect for women and creating a better society with fewer incidents of violence.
Campaigns aimed at men and boys to increase awareness, wipe out misogyny, and change attitudes about gender equality are also effective tools. As individuals and responsible citizens, we can spread awareness and report any act of violence against women around us.
Did you find this article on domestic violence in India useful? Get free online counselling for women in India and learn what is counselling, how it can help you and what it can’t do for you.
Join us on the SHEROES app for women where safety, empathy and trust are built into the platform at every level and connect with a counsellor on the AskSHEROES free online counselling chat helpline for women.