Protecting Women from Domestic Violence in Assam, India? Evaluating Section 498-A, The Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1983 vs the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), 2005

Article (PDF Available)in Journal of International Women's Studies Volume 18(Issue 1):133-144 · November 2016with 360 Reads
Abstract
The institution of marriage is sacred and binding for generations in India; however, in
contemporary times, domestic violence is a burning issue as it questions the sanctity of the Indian
family system. This paper highlights how domestic violence between ‘husband and wife’, and their
interpersonal complexity, is addressed within the legal framework of the Indian Penal Code and
the special act of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. These Acts operate as
custodians for women who are subjugated to spousal violence. The study is located in Kamrup
Metro District of Assam as it is the most urbanised district. The objectives of the study are to show
the perspectives of women survivors as they narrate their first hand experience in the judiciary
process; it will also highlight the position of state machinery (service providers) including the
police, Protection Officers, doctors, lawyers and Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs).
Theories of Socialisation and Feminist Standpoint are harnessed to explain the findings of the
various stakeholders through the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and
Section 498-A, IPC; examining whether it can actually prevent, protect and provide relief measures
to the survivors.
Key words: domestic violence, interpersonal relationships, legal framework, PWDVA, 498-A IPC

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133
Journal of International Women’s Studies Vol. 18, No. 1 November 2016
Protecting Women from Domestic Violence in Assam, India? Evaluating Section 498-A,
The Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1983 vs the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence
Act (PWDVA), 2005
Deepshikha Carpenter1 and Polly Vauquline2
Abstract
The institution of marriage is sacred and binding for generations in India; however, in
contemporary times, domestic violence is a burning issue as it questions the sanctity of the Indian
family system. This paper highlights how domestic violence between ‘husband and wife’, and their
interpersonal complexity, is addressed within the legal framework of the Indian Penal Code and
the special act of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. These Acts operate as
custodians for women who are subjugated to spousal violence. The study is located in Kamrup
Metro District of Assam as it is the most urbanised district. The objectives of the study are to show
the perspectives of women survivors as they narrate their first hand experience in the judiciary
process; it will also highlight the position of state machinery (service providers) including the
police, Protection Officers, doctors, lawyers and Nongovernmental Organisations (NGOs).
Theories of Socialisation and Feminist Standpoint are harnessed to explain the findings of the
various stakeholders through the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and
Section 498A, IPC; examining whether it can actually prevent, protect and provide relief measures
to the survivors.
Key words: domestic violence, interpersonal relationships, legal framework, PWDVA, 498A IPC
Introduction
Violence is an act of coercion upon any individual. Globally, men experience higher levels
of physical violence than women due to war, gangrelated activity, street violence, and suicide,
while women and girls are more likely to be assaulted or killed by someone they know, such as
intimate partner violence (Heise & Moreno, 2002). Domestic violence is also interpreted as Intra
family violence, wife battering, intimate partner violence, partner abuse or violence among family
members (Naidu, 2011). It is heavily indebted to patriarchal systems, psycho-social problems and
un-equal power relationships among family members (Nnadi, 2012).Domestic violence is a
pandemic issue and thus global initiatives including the Convention on the Elimination of all forms
of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Declaration and the Vienna + 20 World
Conference have addressed violence as an issue of concern, detrimental for quality of life and
human rights. Therefore, a perspective on the legal implication of domestic violence is important
1 Deepshikha Carpenter is a PhD Scholar in Department of Women’s Studies, Gauhati University, India. Her
research work is on legal provisions and domestic violence. She is an MSW and currently working as an Assistant
Professor, Department of Social Work, Tezpur University.
2 Dr. Polly Vauquline is an Associate Professor in Department of Women’s Studies, Gauhati University, India. Her
interest areas are Gender Geography, Gender Based Violence and Gerentological Studies.

134
Journal of International Women’s Studies Vol. 18, No. 1 November 2016
as the rates of offence are increasing in India. This paper is an attempt to bring to the surface the
different voices of the stakeholders in treating domestic violence.
Rationale of the study
Before 1983, there was no specific legal provision pertaining to violence against women
on the domestic front in India. Husbands guilty of committing violence to their wives could be
convicted under general provisions relating to murder, hurt, abetment to suicide or wrongful
confinement. These general provisions under criminal law do not take into account the specific
situations of women facing violence within confines of homes as against assault by an outsider or
stranger. Therefore an amendment was made in 1983, which added Section 498A to Chapter XVI,
IPC (Act 46 of 1983) which states that the husband and inlaws subjecting cruelty and harassment
to the wife will be punished.
Again, in 1993, the National Commission for Women requested that the Lawyers
Collective, a women’s rights group, make a draft regarding domestic violence for civil law. A
focused legal campaign began in 1998 onwards and finally in the year 2005, the historic Protection
of Women Against Domestic Violence Act was enacted (Jaisingh, 2001). This Act provides special
services to the victims of domestic violence order, for relief, residence, protection, custody,
maintenance and compensation. Such protections were unheard of in India before the enforcement
of this Act. The Act seeks to address the intrinsic needs of women who face violence at home.
Flavia Agnes, an Indian Legal Activist, draws attention to the fact that the Indian State has been
all too willing to pass new criminal laws to address multiple forms of violence against women and
raises questions about the wisdom of conferring such powers on the State. Each law vests more
power to the state enforcement machinery. Its enactment stipulates more stringent punishment
which is contrary to progressive legal reform (Kapur & Cossman, 1996).
In India there are numerous pieces of legislation to protect victims of domestic violence.
The two important pioneers of protection of women’s interests on the domestic front are Section
498-A of the Indian Penal Code, IPC (1983) and the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence
Act, PWDVA, (2005).The records of the National Crime Record Bureau, 2011 show a significant
increase in the number of 498A cases. The incidence of violence against women at home has
increased by nearly 11%, despite the legislation and implementation of the Protection of Women
from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DNA Newspaper, 2013). This indicates that the crimes against
women in general and domestic violence in particular, have increased at an alarming rate over the
last decade. On the other hand, the state machinery, has from time to time introduced legal
provisions to overcome these social issues. However, domestic violence persists, increasing even
following the existence of strong, stringent laws. In this paper, we intend to probe and investigate
the strong features, as well as the loopholes, of 498A (IPC) and PWDVA, 2005, through the
perspective of female victims of domestic violence and the stakeholders (police, Protection
Officers, doctors, lawyers, and NGOs) who act as service providers through legal action, advice,
medical services and other social welfare measure on behalf of the state.
Area of Study
Research was conducted in Kamrup Metropolitan, the most urbanised (82.70% urban and
17.30% rural) district of Assam, which is located in the North Eastern part of India at 26˚11ꞌ0 N
91˚44ꞌ0ꞌꞌE, with a population of 1253938 and the decadal population growth is 18.34%. The
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Journal of International Women’s Studies Vol. 18, No. 1 November 2016
literacy rate for males is 92.13% and for females is 85.07%, and the sex ratio stands at 936 per
1000 in 2011 census which is below the national average of 940 (Census Report, 2011).
Figure 1: Map of Kamrup Metropolitan District
Source: www.mapsofindia.com3
Objectives
To analyse the perspective of women survivors as they narrate their firsthand experiences
in the judiciary process, as beneficiaries of the legal provisions and to illustrate the standpoint of
state machinery including the police, protection officers, doctors, lawyers and NGOs.
Methodology
The study is based on both primary and secondary data. Primary data were collected from
survivors of domestic violence who registered their cases under 498A IPC or PWDVA, 2005 and
from service providers identified according to PWDVA. Also, secondary data from books and
journals were consulted. Newspaper clippings were analysed to acquire a comprehensive
understanding of cases that might not have been registered. A purposive sampling method was
3To check the location of Kamrup Metropolitan District http://www.mapsofindia.com/maps/assam/districts/kamrup
metropolitan.html

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Journal of International Women’s Studies Vol. 18, No. 1 November 2016
used to collect data from a total of eight samples. Separate schedules were employed for survivors
and for service providers. Semistructured interviews were conducted for data collection. The
schedule consisted of both openended as well as closeended questions. Thereby, a mixed
methodology consisting both qualitative as well as quantitative methods were used to analyse and
probe the problem, along with indepth interviews, and verbal consent for the interviewees was
obtained. Pseudonames have been used to protect the identities of the survivors. The interviews
were then translated and transcribed with the help of NCH Express Scribe and then thematised and
analysed accordingly. The medium of communication used during the interview process were
Assamese and English, whichever language the respondents were most comfortable with. The
interviews were obtained at the survivors’ residences and in the offices of the service providers.
The interviews were carried out for around four months from 3.01.2016 and 15.04.16.
Socialisation and Standpoint theories were harnessed to substantiate the study. Indian
society takes pride in its heritage and culture with a focus on a respectable upbringing through
socialisation by elders. Socialisation theory argues that, depending on cultural expectations, social
practices become gendered (Vauquline, 2015). Ideas about inferiority or superiority of either sex,
and of stereotyped roles for men and women not only limit progress in achieving gender equality,
but also perpetuate inequalities, constituting obstacles to redress gender inequalities. The process
of sex role socialisation regards violence in general and in particular within the family as
legitimately perpetrated by men (Vauquline, 2015). Throughout primary and secondary
socialisation stages, girls are socialised into victim status. Girls are taught through play and
observation that they are to be passive and yield to the control of men. Similarly boys are taught
to display strength and control (Marsh. Cochrane & Melville, 2004). Gender role socialisation
hypothesizes that when a man’s power, control, or gender role identity are threatened, he may
attempt to reestablish his masculinity through the use of psychological or physical abuse (Marin
& Russo, 1999).
To examine the emotions and embodiment of women’s experiences, a feminist standpoint
entails the inclusion of women’s voices. This process raises particularly contentious issues about
how experience can be known; how connections can be established among experience, knowledge,
and reality; and what social relations exist between the experiencing subjects of knowledge and
the feminist interviewer. Women can understand the social world from a feminist standpoint in so
far as they share a common material situation (gender subordination) and develop a common
political consciousness (feminism); the case studies indicatethe validity of standpoints and the
possibility for inter subjectivity (Ramazanoglu& Holland, 2002). Alison Jaggar explains that
women’s distinctive social positions makes possible a view of the world that is more reliable and
less distorted than the research that begins ‘from the lives of men in the dominant group’ (Harding,
1991). Contrary to the tendency of critics who perceive feminist standpoint theory via an
individualist lens, mistakenly reducing the notion of a standpoint to an individual’s social location,
the emergence of standpoints is a collective process occurring through the recognition and
acknowledgment of others who occupy more or less the same standpoint as oneself (Harding,
2004). The study also explores potentially sustainable methods of primary interventions into
domestic violence (prevention, recognition and understanding) as well as secondary methods
(reporting, responding and referral). In the current study, secondary interventions were used as the
need arose, when any crime or incident occurred; service providers played a direct role by offering
their professional help. Secondary interventions ranged from routine enquiries and medical
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Journal of International Women’s Studies Vol. 18, No. 1 November 2016
attention in hospitals, to direct service provision to survivors and relief provided through the civil
and criminal justice process
Findings
Ignorance is one of the Major Causes of Non-Utilisation of the Act by the Survivors
From the narratives of the victims, we observed that they are not aware of the legal
provisions, more so about the PWDVA, 2005.
Mala Seleng (33 years) a nurse in a private hospital, is a survivor of domestic violence for
seven years. She states that: ‘I didn’t know about the Act and it was one of my friends who actually
said that there is a Domestic Violence Act.
Kuntala Bora and her husband work in Kamrup Metro, but her husband hails from
Dibrugarh. She (30 years) works in a private organisation and is a victim of physical,
mental/psychological and sexual violence both by her husband and her fatherinlaw. She went
through various constrains as she was not aware about the legal provisions related to domestic
violence. She narrated, ‘When I went to the Basistha Police Station, they advised me to go to the
Women’s Commission (Assam State Commission for Women). I got no help. I had no idea about
PWDVA, 2005 or a Protection Officer. So I went to Panbazar Police Station, they also said that
the case will not be registered (as her place of occurrence of violence was not Kamrup Metro).’
She again emphasised, ‘I went myself and filed a First Information Report (FIR)4 in
Gabhorupothar Police Station (Dibrugarh). The Police put the section 498 A, 506, 204, 36.’
The Protection Officer5 of Kamrup Metro District, Bimala Kalita for PWDVA said, ‘Most
of the survivors are not aware, some of them are aware and come seeking maintenance, as it is the
main provision that they want, but they are not aware of that; they get protection, residence as well.
The victims find it very difficult with the magistrate as the process of order is slow.’
The Service Providers Decides the Judicial Aspects On Behalf Of the Victims
Since the victims do not know the legal provisions, they are totally dependent on the service
providers.
Mona Devi (28 years) is a homemaker, married for eight years with a four year old son.
She is a survivor and narrates the torture she experienced by her husband, mother and sisterin
law: ‘I went to the Women’s Police Station; the Women’s Police Station gave no response, as my
husband was not there. They said they will not file an FIR, therefore that night; I registered in the
Latasil Police Station. The case was registered under 498A’.
Mala Seleng didn’t know about the Act; it was her friend who actually spoke about the
Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. She consulted a lawyer and then she
came to know about the Act and subsequently registered the case. ‘As per the advice of my lawyer,
I registered my case in 2010 according to PWDVA, and 498-A.’
4 First Information Report is written by the Police for the purpose of keeping records, shared by a victim or anybody
on his/her behalf on any cognizable offence for the first time.
For more information visit http://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/publications/police/fir.pdf
5 Protection Officers are assigned under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 to look into the
grievances of the victim and act as a mediator between the Court and the victim. It is assigned by the Department of
Social Welfare. A Protection Officer is also given another responsibility as a Social Welfare Officer.

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Journal of International Women’s Studies Vol. 18, No. 1 November 2016
Kuntala Bora took the help of a lawyer based in Guwahati and said, ‘I went and filed an
FIR in Gabhorupothar Police Station in Dibrugarh. The Police decided on sections IPC 498 A,
506, 204, 36.6
Immediate help to the victims are singular
The concept of ‘Zero First Information Report (FIR)’ is not known to the victims where
they can register a case of a grievous nature in any Police Station despite the jurisdiction of the
crime committed and later on can transfer the case to the respective Police Station7. It is utmost
important for sensitive issue of domestic violence to be registered under Zero FIR for safety,
security of the victim as well as collection of evidence on time.
Mona Devi was aggrieved as she narrated: ‘I went to the Women’s Police Station; the
Women’s Police Station gave no response, as my husband was not there, and they did not file an
FIR at that night.’
Kuntala Bora narrated: ‘When I went to Basistha Police Station, they advised me to go to
the Women’s Commission. I got no help. I had no idea about PWDVA, 2005 or a Protection
Officer, I went to the Panbazar Police Station, and they also said that the case will not be
registered.’
No special training is imparted to The Protection Officer as service provider
Sensitization programme is lacking for a important service provider as a Protection Officer
who looks at the process of filing a case under PWDVA, 2005.The Protection Officer of Kamrup
Metro District, Bimala Kalita for PWDVA said: ‘Training is required as we come across various
types of cases at times. Now, of course, we are experienced, we know what we need to do. Still
there are people who are freshly appointed as District Social Welfare Officers and as Protection
Officers, wherein they are not trained for this dual responsibility. Training is a must. Actually, to
cope with the legal sections here, we need to know the acts and rules well. When we get a complaint
of DV, if a victim comes to us directly, we try to listen and talk to her and tell her to file litigation.
We cannot do much. It has to be done with court proceeding.
Roles and responsibilities of other Service Providers encapsulate a pro-active approach
A positive attitude is reflected from the service provider’s perspective. The President of
the Women’s Legal Aid Cell8, Mrs. S. Chakravarty mentioned: ‘Whenever a victim comes, we
listen to her grievances if we think it will be filed as a case, so we take a consent , whether she
would like to go to court or settle on mutual understanding. It has a clear agenda to show what is
necessary.’
B. Deka, (50 years) Officer in Charge, Panbazar Women Police Station states: ‘The cases
are disposed within two to three months as medical reports take a lot of time. A vehicle is also
provided and victims are accompanied by female constables. NGOs and other specialists come in
6 IPC 498A→ whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to
cruelty shall be punished.IPC 506 → Punishment for criminal intimidation. IPC 204→Punishment for destruction of
document or electronic record to prevent its production as evidence. IPC 34→Acts done by several persons in
furtherance of common intention.
For more information visit http://www.ncw.nic.in/acts/THEINDIANPENALCODE1860.pdf
7 For more information, see https://lawupdaterblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/18/articleontheconceptofzerofir/
8 Registered in 1990, the NGO mainly works for providing free legal and family counselling before a case is filed.

139
Journal of International Women’s Studies Vol. 18, No. 1 November 2016
to the Police Reserve9 or office to provide a sensitization programme.’ For the Police, the
sensitization programme provides some awareness on the current legal practices.
Dr. V. Das (32 years) Registrar, Guwahati Medical College & Hospital commented, ‘If the
victims do not have fees or the attendants cannot afford to pay, they have a Below Poverty Line
Card10, then everything is rendered free, otherwise we request the superintendent investigation
treatment free of costs, so most of the initial treatment can be rendered without incurring any cost.’
Victims’ experience of hardship
The goal of marriage in India is to provide for and support a family. When marriage has an
element of violence to it, then the victims face enormous social and economic trauma as they fight
against their husband and his relatives for the injustice committed.
Mona Devi as a homemaker faced significant difficulties which she narrates as follows:
after my hand was broken in Sivratri (a festival) due to thrashing by my husband, I went to the
hospital alone. My brother went and paid for my medical expense. No one came from my in-laws
family. The police also didn’t help me. My husband received an anticipatory bail11 after I filed the
case.’ Mala Seleng also commented, ‘I have spent around Indian Rupees 50,000 till now, and I
am paying from my salary. Initially my father helped me. But now I am doing a job. So I am paying
for the Lawyer’s fee. I get only Indian Rupees 12000 as salary, it is difficult to manage.’
Strong indications of non-implementation of the Act
The Acts provided to protect and preserve the rights of citizens are often not delivered to
the aggrieved.
Mala Seleng states: ‘I have not received any free legal aid. Actually, in 2011, I received
relief from the court; I should receive Indian Rupees 15000 sanctioned by the court. But up till
today, I have received no benefits. I received a maintenance order, but in reality, there is no such
relief. I have not sought help from NGOs or other organisations.’
Kuntala Bora confesses, ‘I did my check up in Assam Medical College12. I paid Rupees10
as a fee. I received no legal aid. The Police told me it would take timeat least a month. I have
asked for maintenance, like my house rent and my daily provisions. I received no help from the
Women’s Commission. I do not know how NGOs function, but I have to fight my own battle. With
the police, I received average cooperation; the lawyer was very good, and the doctors supported
me. I had a female constable while visiting the doctor. It was extremely difficult to coordinate with
the Police Personnel as I had no proof of my marriage as it was according to a Hindu customary
marriage13. They wanted photographic evidence as my witness was not enough. The Police broke
me down morally. I have decided, whatever I earn, I will spend on my case to make it successful.’
9 The Reserved Armed Police Force is for emergency purposes. There is a special Police Station assigned for the
Reserved Armed Police Force in Guwahati city.
10 According to the income criteria, the poorest of the poor gets some Government aid.
11 Anticipatory Bail is a provision for a person to seek or request bail in anticipation or in expectation of being
named or accused of having committed a nonbailable offence. For more information look into
http://www.jaagore.com/articles/knowyourpolice/anticipatorybail
12 Located in Dibrugarh District, Assam.
13 The Hindu Marriage Act 1955 considers marriage to be a private affair.

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Journal of International Women’s Studies Vol. 18, No. 1 November 2016
The service providers are over-burdened with responsibilities
The numbers reporting on domestic violence cases are increasing which also burdens the
service providers.
Lawyer Babita Limbu, a senior advocate in the Gauhati High Court practising more than
20 years commented: ‘Since 1995, it’s more than 500 cases I have handled. The domestic violence
cases are divided in Family Court for maintenance, divorce, child custody, restitution of conjugal
rights, PWDVA has shelter home, protection, paramedical expenses.
The Protection Officer for PWDVA said: ‘We have lots of Service Providers with us, who
help with the legal proceedings. I just try to squeeze in time for the reports when the court asks for
it. There is not sufficient time as the bulk of cases keep on pending; every day there is a new case.
We need to complete the Domestic Incident Report (DIR)14, register the case, submit the DIR. We
are really understaffed. I am managing with a retired peon to work; we don’t have many people,
nor are we getting any financial aid. Time is not sufficient, the court give us less time; we ask the
court to give us more time. Along with that, I have other additional responsibility as a Social
Welfare Officer, most of the time; I am engaged with DV cases.’
Ways to strengthen the Acts
Only critical feedback from the victims and the service providers can help to improve the
benefits and punish the perpetrator.
Lawyer Babita Limbu responded: ‘I have not seen cases being disposed in 60 days under
PWDVA. My own cases have taken two to three years. The reason is, when they created the Act
they didn’t realize the need for proper evidence, and therefore there is the possibility of delay. It
is not the fault of the court. But the process of 60 days of disposal time should be modified. Or the
time limit should be removed. PWDVA has provided little help through the provisions like shelter,
protection, and monetary relief for the victims.’
Discussion
Socialisation and social location shape knowledge, edifying various types of truths from
all the stakeholders. In India, marriage is the most cherished of lifetime institutions, wherein
values and respect are attached for its sustenance. Significant courage and conviction on the part
of an aggrieved person is required to come forward with a complaint of domestic violence. The
survivors are conscious of their oppression, and that is why they come courageously and file cases.
However, the justice delivery system must improve the implementation of the provisions of the
Act to survivors. However, the pressing need of the hour is increased sensitivity and support from
State machinery. PWDVA talks about faster implementation and justice within 60 days, yet this
study highlights lacunae in the mechanismsfor the deliverance of justice. The survivors’ lack of
knowledge is abused by service providers in certain cases, as for instance, the case of Mala Seleng,
who narrates, ‘My own lawyer has taken seven years. The process is so slow; if my lawyer is good
and loyal, for people like us who are affected by domestic violence a much faster process would
have been profitable.’
The interpretation of how well justice is meted out varies from the standpoint of survivors.
The Women’s Legal Aid Cell, for instance, appears to be aware of their roles and responsibilities
as a service provider and also about the needs of the survivors, The President of Women’s Legal
14 Domestic Incident Report is a report made in a prescribed form on receipt of a complaint of domestic violence
from an aggrieved person under 2 (e) definition of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

141
Journal of International Women’s Studies Vol. 18, No. 1 November 2016
Aid Cell stated, ‘Advice is more effective for people coming from poor economic background.
They cannot approach the lawyers as it involves lot of fees. After sorting out the problems here,
they feel benefitted. Lot of people get help through free counselling (legal) in this Cell’.
Also, for the Police, providing justice as per the needs of the survivors is their principle
aim. There is an awareness of their roles and responsibilities, but they are not very thorough about
which sections individual cases are to be registered. They work mechanically as they are
understaffed and have many cases to attend along with other duties as well. They are overburdened
with the different roles they need to perform. The Protection Officer (PO) is a selflearner of the
PWDVA Act as she has not attended any organised sensitization programme. She is aware of her
roles and responsibilities by going through the Act. Implementation of the Act is a burden since
the amount of paperwork associated with each case is colossal. Being a P O is an additional task
apart from being a Social Welfare Officer. Doctor Das, who is a practicing Register in Gauhati
Medical College & Hospital, is also very thorough with medicolegal cases as the management
protocol for each of the injuries is the same. At first the life threatening issues are addressed and
then the lesser. It helps in the smooth delegation of services to the survivors. He states, ‘It is tough
work with the survivors due to different injuries and the level of temperament.’ However, there is
good coordination with other service providers, including NGOs and the Police. Limbu, the
Lawyer is also very thorough with provisions of IPC 498A and PWDVA. She is active in
attending sensitization programmes provided by NGO’s. In Domestic violence cases, she
commented, ‘we need the police, we cannot blame them. I have a cordial relation with the police
and sometimes they help. When the court gives us an order of PWDVA, it is not punitive in nature,
only Indian Rupee 10,000 as fine is imposed because of its civil character. If there is good
coordination with the police and NGOs, the process of justice delivery can be faster’. Ideal
illustration of a service provider is through this respondent, Mala Seleng who commented, ‘I
enjoyed excellent service from the magistrate. She issued an order of Indian Rupee 15000
maintenance for me. I availed proper treatment from the doctor. I also got good responses from
the police personnel.’ If all the survivors receive a proper response from the service providers of
the state, then delivering justice will be easy and effective.
As agents of society, survivors have to be more vocal about the situation to improve their
conditions, questioning and asking for a response every time justice is delayed; as one can always
demand justice as a citizen and no service provider can deny it under PWDVA or IPC 498A.
Babita Limbu, the Lawyer mentions in her account ‘Everyone has to work hard. The magistrate,
police and the rest have to see the Act is properly implemented.’ An active liaising through
everyone’s standpoint and door to door awareness can help in curbing perpetrators and making
justice delivery a faster mechanism.
Conclusion
This paper has explored the intricacies of the relationships among different stakeholders
involved in the challenges of domestic violence, to be unique and complex. The voices of
victims/survivors are crucial in this process, since it is crucial that those who implement the system
hear from those whom it is supposed to assist. Clearly, coordination with the survivors and the
service providers is not adequate. Awareness and sensitization training is necessary for service
providers, and victims. Few of the service providers should be exclusively deputed for the
execution of the Acts. Also, the coordination among the service providers needs improvement. A
responsible response to every complaint and a willingness to help can bring about more meaningful
142
Journal of International Women’s Studies Vol. 18, No. 1 November 2016
participation from both sides. The system is overburdened with cases filed daily and with limited
resources to tackle these issues. This study has pinpointed that the implementation of PWDVA
can be improved through massive awareness and intervention campaigns. The ambit of PWDVA
is wider than the criminal act of 498A as it serves the purpose of protecting women in all aspects,
not solely punishing the perpetrators. These narratives show the complex relationship among all
the stakeholders, and how they seek to manage the cases with limited resources available to them.
143
Journal of International Women’s Studies Vol. 18, No. 1 November 2016
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  • … These narratives bear resonance to previous literature on DV conducted in Bangladesh and elsewhere ( Abramsky et al. 2011;Adhikari and Tamang 2010;Carpenter and Vauquline 2016;Dalal, Rahman, and Jansson 2009;Fulu et al. 2013; Jayasuriya, Wijewardena, and Axemo 2011; Jewkes et al. 2013;Kaur and Garg 2010;Kelmendi 2015;Sambisa et al. 2010Sambisa et al. , 2011Schuler, Bates, and Islam 2008;Vauquline 2015). …
    Researching Domestic Violence in Bangladesh: Critical Reflections
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    • Apr 2018
    • Ethics Soc Welfare
    • Amina Pervin

      Amina Pervin

    • Tulshi Das

      Tulshi Das

    • Md. Fakhrul Alam

      Md. Fakhrul Alam

    • Rituparna Bhattacharyya

      Rituparna Bhattacharyya

    In-depth interviews are now an established method of qualitative research across disciplines – Geography, Sociology, Social Work and even in Medical Sciences. However, there is a dearth of discussion about the issues entailed in using semi-structured interviews in Bangladesh, especially while conducting research on sensitive issues such as violence against women including domestic violence (DV). Drawing upon our experiences of conducting 42 in-depth interviews amongst the victims of DV, who sought help from two social welfare organisations – Women Support Program (WSP) and Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), both located in Sylhet, Bangladesh, we used critical reflections on issues pertaining to data collection, sensitivity, while discussing our identities and positionalities as researchers.

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  • Socialisation Process, Power Relations and Domestic Violence: Marginal Voices of Assamese Women
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      Polly Vauquline

    Domestic violence is an evil that never dies. It is an indicator of inequality, injustice and discrimination of the social system. Though there is no justification for its existence in a civilized society, then why it is so difficult to root it out? Why does it persist to exist even after the prevalence of legal provisions to combat domestic violence? The causes maybe embedded on the facts that it involves intimate relationship on the one hand and exercise of power relations on the other. These power relations put women at disadvantaged positions, which are prominently gendered in nature.
    Assam, a state in the north-eastern corner of India, is unique in its own distinction. It is a region with myriad communities with varied culture, ethnic and social background. Distinctive statistical differences of domestic violence exist among these communities. These variations may categorically be due to the nature of power relations in intimate relations among these communities, which is probed with the application of oral history method.
    An effort is made through this study to explore the societal attitudes concerning power within intimate human relations. The focus of this paper is to search for the social beliefs attached with the power relations that have been governing them or promoting them in the form of social values, customs, rituals and traditions, which are the nucleus of domestic violence in Assamese society. This study intends to investigate the power relations amongst the different communities. Oral history method is applied to probe the socialisation process of the victims of domestic violence and to analyse how it creates power relations that caters to domestic violence. It gives a deeper understanding to the gendered nature of power in intimate relations. It illustrates that power relations is created through socialisation process and is a contributing attribute to domestic violence among spouses.

  • Criminal justice: An introduction to philosophies, theories and practice
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      J. Cochrane

    • G. Melville

      G. Melville

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      I. Marsh

    This new text encourages students to develop a deeper understanding of the context and the current workings of the criminal justice system. The first part offers a clear and comprehensive review of the major philosophical aims and sociological theories of punishment, the history of justice and punishment and the developing perspective of victimology. In the second part, the focus is on the main areas of the contemporary criminal justice system, including the police, the courts and judiciary, prisons and community penalties. There are regular reflective question breaks which enable students to consider and respond to questions relating to what they have just read and the book contains useful pedagogic features such as boxed examples, leading questions and annotated further reading. This practical book is particularly geared to undergraduate students following programmes in criminal justice and criminology. It will also prove a useful resource for practitioners who are following vocationally based courses in the criminal justice area – in social work, youth justice and police training courses. © 2004 Ian Marsh, with John Cochrane and Gaynor Melville. All rights reserved.

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      Jinan Usta

    This study explored the socialization of Lebanese men's attitudes toward gender equality to understand violence against women in Middle Eastern countries. Two hundred seventy-three men completed a survey, and 73 participated in seven focus groups. Survey results showed that participants' education, parents' expectations for gender-typed behavior, school discipline, and exposure to community violence predicted the men's attitudes toward gender inequality. In focus group discussions, participants expressed that masculinity imposed a taxing role wherein they perceived themselves as "victims" of a traditional culture where norms grant men control and power over women.

  • Feminist Research Practice: A Primer
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      Patricia Lina Leavy

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    • Ine Nnadi

      Ine Nnadi

    Violence against women is a worldwide malaise, eating deep into the fabric of society. It has become common to see women violated in different aspects of life by their male counterparts, be it their fathers, brothers, husbands or for that matter total strangers. Unfortunately women bear the brunt of a lot of violence in our society and silently cover them up so as to avoid stigmatization or protect their families. In recent times in Nigeria, there have been several cases of violence against women and, most of these cases are kept silent despite their pervasiveness. Issues like sexual harassment, trafficking in women and girls, sex selection, early marriage, female genital mutilation etc are fast becoming epidemics plaguing Nigeria as it is the case globally. This situation is unabatting globally and has elicited public outcry leading to the intervention of the United Nations General Assembly as well as member states coming out with several treaties, laws and policies on women in a bid to protecting the woman from the dehumanizing violation of human rights. This work among other issues examined violence against women and its diverse ramifications and exposed the fact that it is a human rights violation that must be stopped. It also assessed some of the legal regimes relating to violence and found that these regimes have not had their desired impact due to various reasons in Nigeria including the fact that the causes of violence are embedded in unequal power relations between men and women hinged on patriarchal leanings of society and made some recommendations geared at combating the challenge of violence against women.

  • ) Gender Stereotype and Socialisation Process. The Role of Men and Boys in achieving Gender EqualityCriminal Justice: An Introduction to Philosophies, Theories and Practice
    • Jan 2004
    • 2010-2014
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    • I Dlw Marsh
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    Marinova, J. (2003, Dec, 13) Gender Stereotype and Socialisation Process. The Role of Men and
    Boys in achieving Gender Equality, UNDP, DLW
    Marsh, I., Cochrane, J., & Melville, G. (2004).Criminal Justice: An Introduction to Philosophies,
    Theories and Practice. Psychology Press
    Naidu, G. (2011). Violence against Women in India. New Delhi: Serials Publications
    National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence, 2010-2014 Executive
    Summary National Develop Plan (2007-2013)

  • Determinants of Domestic Violence: A Cross-National Study
    • Jan 2009
    • Int J Sociol Fam
    • 147-167
    • C Arthur
    • R Clark
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    International Journal of Sociology of the Family, 35(2), 147-167. Retrieved from:
    http://www.jstor.org/stable/23070721

  • Laws of Domestic Violence: A User Manual for Women. The Lawyers Collective
    • Jan 2001
    • I Jaisingh
    Jaisingh, I. (2001). Laws of Domestic Violence: A User Manual for Women. The Lawyers
    Collective, Delhi: Universal Publishing Co.

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