Domestic violence is undoubtedly a human rights issue and a serious deterrent to development. The phenomenon of domestic violence is widely prevalent but has remained largely invisible in the public domain. Presently, where a woman is subjected to cruelty by her husband or his relatives, it is an offence under Section 498-A of Indian Penal Code but the civil law, however, does not address this phenomenon in its entirety.

Any harm, injury to health, safety, life, limb or well being or any other act threatening or coercion, etc by any adult member of the family, constitutes domestic violence.

Any woman who is or has been in a domestic or family relationship is subjected to any act of domestic violence can complain. It includes actual abuse or threat or abuse that is physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic.

Harassment by way of unlawful dowry demands to the woman or her relatives would also be covered under this definition. It provides for the rights of women to secure housing. It also provides for the right of a woman to reside in her matrimonial home or shared household, whether or not she has any title or rights in such home or household through a residence order, which is passed by the Magistrate.

Protection order, as well as monetary relief, can be given to the woman to meet expenses or losses.

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