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  • Published: 21 April 2022

Domestic violence in Indian women: lessons from nearly 20 years of surveillance

  • Rakhi Dandona 1 , 2 ,
  • Aradhita Gupta 1 ,
  • Sibin George 1 ,
  • Somy Kishan 1 &
  • G. Anil Kumar 1  

BMC Women's Health volume  22 , Article number:  128 ( 2022 ) Cite this article

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Prevalence of self-reported domestic violence against women in India is high. This paper investigates the national and sub-national trends in domestic violence in India to prioritise prevention activities and to highlight the limitations to data quality for surveillance in India.

Data were extracted from annual reports of National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB) under four domestic violence crime-headings—cruelty by husband or his relatives, dowry death, abetment to suicide, and protection of women against domestic violence act. Rate for each crime is reported per 100,000 women aged 15–49 years, for India and its states from 2001 to 2018. Data on persons arrested and legal status of the cases were extracted.

Rate of reported cases of cruelty by husband or relatives in India was 28.3 (95% CI 28.1–28.5) in 2018, an increase of 53% from 2001. State-level variations in this rate ranged from 0.5 (95% CI  − 0.05 to 1.5) to 113.7 (95% CI 111.6–115.8) in 2018. Rate of reported dowry deaths and abetment to suicide was 2.0 (95% CI 2.0–2.0) and 1.4 (95% CI 1.4–1.4) in 2018 for India, respectively. Overall, a few states accounted for the temporal variation in these rates, with the reporting stagnant in most states over these years. The NCRB reporting system resulted in underreporting for certain crime-headings. The mean number of people arrested for these crimes had decreased over the period. Only 6.8% of the cases completed trials, with offenders convicted only in 15.5% cases in 2018. The NCRB data are available in heavily tabulated format with limited usage for intervention planning. The non-availability of individual level data in public domain limits exploration of patterns in domestic violence that could better inform policy actions to address domestic violence.


Urgent actions are needed to improve the robustness of NCRB data and the range of information available on domestic violence cases to utilise these data to effectively address domestic violence against women in India.

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The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 5 is to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, and the two indicators of progress towards this are the rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) and non-partner violence [ 1 ]. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated a 26% prevalence of IPV in ever-married/partnered women aged 15 years or more globally in 2018, and this prevalence is higher at 35% for southern Asia region in which India falls [ 2 ]. The self-reported domestic violence (majority by an intimate partner) in any form is reported between 33 to 41% among ever-married women from India [ 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 ]. Furthermore, the suicide death rate among women in India was reported to be twice the global rate [ 9 ], and housewives account for the majority of suicide deaths, the reasons for which are documented as “personal/social” [ 10 ].

Domestic violence was first recognized as a punishable offence in India in 2005 with the passing of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA) [ 11 , 12 ]. A significant focus of domestic violence against women in India has been on dowry-related harassment. Dowry is the transfer of goods, money and/or property from the bride’s family to the groom or his family at the time of marriage [ 13 ], initially meant to provide funds to women who were unable to inherit family property [ 14 ]. Dowry is very prevalent in India [ 15 ], and it has propagated domestic violence as means to extract money or property from the bride and her family [ 13 , 16 ]. While earlier sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) criminalized only dowry-related domestic violence, PWDVA expanded legal recourse for domestic violence beyond dowry harassment for more effective protection of the rights of women guaranteed under the Constitution who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family [ 11 ].

The major official source of surveillance for domestic violence in India are the reports compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) [ 17 ]. Though under-reporting in NCRB reports is well documented for certain types of injuries [ 9 , 10 , 18 ], it remains the most comprehensive longitudinal source of domestic violence available at the state-level for India. We undertook a situational analysis for the years 2001 to 2018 using the NCRB reports to highlight the trends in the reported magnitude of domestic violence over time, to highlight the variations within country that could facilitate prioritization of immediate actions for prevention, and to discuss the limitations of the available NCRB reports for surveillance.

The primary source of the NCRB data is the First Information Report (FIR) completed by a police officer for any domestic violence incident which is compiled at the state level and provided to NCRB. FIR is a document prepared by police when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence either by the victim of the cognizable offence or by someone on their behalf [ 19 , 20 ]. It captures the date, time and location of offence, the details of offence, the details of victim and person reporting the offence, and steps taken by the police after receiving these details. The NCRB reports provide summary data based on these FIRs, which we utilized from 2001 to 2018 available in the public domain for this analysis. The details of data extracted and utilized are described below.

Type of data

Four crime headings corresponding to domestic violence related crimes against women were considered after consultation with legal experts who dealt with domestic violence cases based on the crime headings under which these are registered in India —cruelty by husband or his relatives, dowry death, abetment of suicide of women, and cases registered under PWDVA (Additional file 1 : Table S1). A case is filed under ‘cruelty by husband or his relatives’ (Section 498A of the IPC) when there is evidence of violence causing grave injury or of harassment to fulfil an unlawful demand for property [ 21 ]. Case of death of a woman within 7 years of marriage with evidence of dowry harassment is filed under dowry death (IPC Section 304B) [ 22 ]. As domestic violence is known as a risk factor for death by suicide among married women, we also considered the cases registered under abetment of suicide of women [ 23 ]. The cases under the PWDVA act criminalize perpetrators of domestic violence, defined to include physical, verbal, sexual, emotional and economic abuse in addition to dowry-related violence [ 11 ]. The NCRB reports data based on the “Principal Offence Rule,” which means that regardless of the number of offences under which a case of domestic violence is legally registered, it is reported only under the most serious crime heading by the NCRB [ 24 ].

Data extraction

NCRB reports included the number of cases filed as well as the number of victims under each of the four crime headings for 2014–2018 but reported only the number of cases filed from 2001 to 2013. The ratio of the number of cases to victims was 1.0 for 2014 to 2018, and hence we use the number of cases filed for this analysis from 2001 to 2018. Individual level-data is not published in the NCRB report.

Data for cruelty by husband or his relatives and for dowry death were available from 2001 to 2018, while data for abetment of suicide of women and PWDVA were available only from 2014 to 2018. We extracted the number of cases filed under each of the four domestic violence crime heads for each year for each state and for India. We also extracted data on the number of persons arrested under each crime category, which were available from 2001 to 2015 for the states and until 2018 for India. Here too, the data on abetment of suicide and PWDVA was available from 2014 to 2018 only. Lastly, we extracted data on the number of legal cases filed for these crimes and their current status in the judicial system. This legal data was available cumulatively for only India, and since it could not be extrapolated for each year from the tables, we analyzed this only for 2018.

Data analysis

Our analysis was aimed at understanding trends in the rate for each type of domestic violence crime heading. We calculated the rate of cruelty by husband or his relatives and dowry deaths from 2001 to 2018, and the rate of abetment of suicide of women and PWDVA from 2014 to 2018. As the NCRB reports do not specify the age of women who had reported these crimes, we assumed the age group of women to be 15–49 years to estimate the rates as the previous reports on domestic violence in India are predominately for women aged 15–49 years [ 25 , 26 , 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 31 ]. We used the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study 2019 state-wise annual population estimates for women aged 15–49 years as the denominator [ 32 ], and report the rates per 100,000 women aged 15–49 years with 95% confidence intervals (CI) estimated for these rates. We report these rates across three administrative splits: nationally, by groups of state and individual state. The state groups were populated based on the Socio-demographic Index (SDI) computed by the GBD study, which uses lag distributed income, average years of education for population > 15 years of age, and total fertility rate [ 9 , 32 ].

To assess the trends in arrests related to domestic violence crimes, we computed the mean number of people arrested under each crime heading by dividing the number of people arrested with the total number of cases. The statistical analysis was done using MS Excel 2016, and maps were created using QGIS [ 33 ]. As this analysis used aggregated data available in the public domain, no ethics approval was necessary.

Cruelty by husband or his relatives

A total of 1,548,548 cases were reported under cruelty by husband or his relatives in India from 2001 to 2018, with 554,481 (35.8%) between 2014 and 2018. The reported rate of this crime in India was 18.5 (95% CI 18.3–18.6) in 2001 and 28.3 (95% CI 28.1–28.5) in 2018 per 100,000 women aged 15–49 years, marking a significant increase of 53% (95% CI 51.7–54.3) over this period (Table 1 ). This rate was 37.9 (95% CI 37.5–38.3) for the middle SDI states as compared with 27.6 (95% CI 27.4–27.8) in the low- and 18.1 (95% CI 17.8–18.4) in the high-SDI states in 2018 (Table 1 ). This reported crime rate remained higher in the middle SDI states between 2001 and 2018 as compared with the other states, reaching its highest levels between 2011 and 2014 (Fig.  1 ). Wide variations were seen in the rate for reported cruelty by husband or his relatives in 2018 at the state-level, which ranged from 0.5 (95% CI -0.05 0–1.5) in Sikkim to 113.7 (95% CI 111.6–115.8) in Assam (Table 1 and Fig.  2 ). The state of Delhi, Assam, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Jammu and Kashmir documented > 160% increase in this reported crime rate during 2001–2018 (Table 1 ). The greatest decline in the rate of this reported crime was seen in Mizoram, 74.3% from 2001 to 2018 (Table 1 ).

figure 1

Yearly trend in the rate of cruelty by husband or his relatives per 100,000 women of 15–49 years, 2001–2018. SDI denotes Socio-demographic Index

figure 2

Crime rate for cruelty by husband or his relatives per 100,000 women aged 15–49 years in 2018 in India, by state

Interestingly, the 53% increase in this reported crime rate between 2001 and 2018 for India was accounted for by increased rates for only a few states, and the rate remained stagnant in most states (Additional file 2 : Fig. S1, Additional file 3 : Fig. S2, Additional file 4 : Fig. S3). Only the states of Assam and Rajasthan among the low SDI states (Additional file 2 : Fig. S1), Andhra Pradesh and Tripura among the middle SDI states (Additional file 3 : Fig. S2), and Kerala and Delhi among the high SDI states (Additional file 4 : Fig. S3) showed increased reporting of this crime over the study period. The mean number of persons arrested under this crime in India decreased from 2.2 in 2001 to 1.1 in 2018, and the numbers were similar across the state SDI groups (Additional file 5 : Fig. S4).

Dowry deaths

A total of 137,627 crimes were reported as dowry deaths between 2001 and 2018, with 38,342 (27.9%) cases between 2014 and 2018. The rate of this reported crime in India was 2.0 (95% CI 2.5–2.7) in 2018 per 100,000 women aged 15–49 years (Table 1 ). This rate in 2018 was 3.1 (95% CI 3.0–3.2) in the low-SDI states as compared to 1.2 (95% CI 1.1–1) in the middle- and 0.7 (95% CI 0.60–0.8) in the high-SDI states, and this trend was seen throughout the period studied (Table 1 ). At the state level in 2018, this rate ranged from 0.11 (95% CI 0–0.32) in Meghalaya to 4.0 (95% CI 3.8–4.2) in Uttar Pradesh; no cases were reported in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram or Nagaland (Table 1 and Fig.  3 ). The largest decline in this rate was seen in the states of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat over the study period (Table 1 ).

figure 3

Rate of dowry deaths per 100,000 women aged 15–49 years in 2018 in India, by state

The mean number of persons arrested for dowry deaths in India declined from 3 in 2001 to 2.3 in 2018. In 2001, this mean was markedly higher in the high-SDI states (4.9) than the low- (2.7) and middle- (2.6) SDI states. However, by 2015 this rate was higher in the low-SDI states (2.9) than high- (2.2) and middle- (1.8) SDI states (Additional file 5 : Fig. S4).

Abetment of suicide of women

Data under this crime head was available from 2014 to 2018, during which 22,579 cases were reported. The average rate of this crime was 1.27 (95% CI 1.25–1.29) per 100,000 women aged 15–49 years over this period. Overall, relatively higher rates were recorded in middle-SDI states (2.2; 95% CI 2.1–2.3), followed by high- (1.7; 95% CI 1.6–1.8) and low- (0.73; 95% CI 0.69–0.77) SDI states (Table 1 ). Notably, the middle- and high-SDI groups recorded a similar rate in 2014, after which the middle-SDI states recorded a steady increase in rate until 2017, while the high-SDI states saw an initial dip in 2015 and then an increase till 2017. The rate in the low-SDI states remained low throughout this period (Table 1 ).

At the state-level in 2018, this rate ranged from 0.07 (95% CI 0.02 to 0.12) in Odisha to 4.0 (95% CI 3.6–4.4) in Telangana; no cases were reported in Bihar, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim and Nagaland (Table 1 and Fig.  4 ). While some states did not record any case, other states recorded significant changes between the 2014 and 2018. This rate in Tamil Nadu increased by 450% from 2014 to 2018, and West Bengal and Gujarat recorded an increase of over 100%, while this rate declined the most in Telangana, by 31% (Table 1 ). The mean number of persons arrested for this crime in India recorded a small increase from 1.4 in 2014 to 1.7 in 2018, and was similar across the state SDI groups (Additional file 5 : Fig. S4).

figure 4

Rate of abetment of suicide of women per 100,000 women aged 15–49 years in 2018 in India, by state

PWDVA, 2005

A total of 2,519 cases were reported under PWDVA between 2014 and 2018, with an average crime rate of 0.14 (95% CI 0.13–0.15) per 100,000 women aged 15–49 years during this period (Table 1 ). Majority of the states did not report any case under this Act (Table 1 ). The mean number of persons arrested in India for this crime decreased from 1.6 in 2014 to 1 in 2018 (Additional file 5 : Fig. S4).

Status of the legal cases

A total of 658,418 cases were sent for trial in India in 2018, of which trial was completed in only 44,648 (6.8%) cases. Among the cases in which trial was completed, the offender(s) was convicted in only 6,921 (15.5%) cases.

In India between 2001 and 2018, the majority of domestic violence cases were filed under ‘cruelty by husband or his relatives’, with the reported rate of this crime increasing by 53% over the 18 years. However, it is important to note that only some states recorded change in the reported rate with the almost stagnant reported rate of domestic violence in many states over time. Significant heterogeneity was seen in the pattern of the four types of crimes at the state-level. Overall, the mean persons arrested decreased irrespective of the crime during the period studied, and less than 7% of the filed cases had completed legal trial in 2018. We discuss the gaps identified in the reported data which unless addressed have major implications in the facilitating action to reduce domestic violence against women in India.

The rate of reported crime under all the considered categories excluding dowry deaths in 2018 in India in the NCRB was close to the 33% self-reported domestic violence reported by women in the national survey in 2015–16 [ 3 ], though there is an indication that the prevalence of domestic violence could be as high as 41% in India [ 4 ]. The NCRB data provides passive surveillance with the source being the FIR filed by family/kin/community member with the police for a crime, and hence is dependent on the reporting from the community, which is known to be selective as women report less to the police for domestic violence due to various reasons including lack of social support, shame, and stigma [ 34 , 35 , 36 , 37 ]. These differences could account for differential rates of domestic violence between the police records and self-reporting of domestic violence in the surveys [ 3 , 4 ]. Recently, it is also shown that how women are asked about domestic violence in surveys can also result in different estimates [ 38 ]. Furthermore, the Principal Offence Rule followed by NCRB "hides" many cases of domestic violence as according to this Rule, each criminal incident is recorded as one crime. If many offences are registered in a single case, only the most heinous crime—one that attracts maximum punishment—is considered as counting unit [ 39 , 40 ]. For example, an incident involving dowry death and cruelty by husband or relative will be reported in NCRB as dowry death as it warrants the maximum punishment, thereby, underreporting the number of cases with cruelty by husband or relative.

The cases under cruelty by husband or his relatives accounted for the majority of reported cases, and the rate of this reporting was comparatively higher in the middle-SDI states over the years studied. Previous research using field notes from cases reported to police indicate that victims are often in an environment that condones violence through active encouragement or tacit approval by the husband’s family members; and that many women lack social support as they experience violence from multiple perpetrators at home [ 34 , 41 ]. It is plausible that this rate is higher in the middle-SDI states because material wealth is highly prized among the Indian middle class, and dowry is seen as an easy path to greater wealth and social status [ 12 ]. A higher dowry demand, and a greater dissatisfaction from inability to meet these demands could possibly result in more domestic violence in these states [ 12 , 42 , 43 ]. Another possible factor in these states could be that the increasing female literacy in these states may be perceived as a threat to the prevalent power structures, prompting violence against women as a means to reinstate control [ 12 , 44 , 45 , 46 , 47 ].

The middle-SDI states also had a higher rate of reported cases under abetment to suicide. The link between abuse and suicidal behaviour is well established, with research indicating that three out of ten women who undergo domestic violence are likely to attempt suicide [ 5 ]. Furthermore, a significantly higher suicide death rate is reported in Indian women than their global counterparts [ 9 ], and housewives account for the majority of these suicide deaths [ 10 ]. Wide state-level variations in the suicide death rate for women are also reported [ 9 ], and the relationship between the prevalence of domestic violence and suicide death rate needs to be explored further.

In contrast to the increased reporting of cases of cruelty over time, the rate of dowry death cases decreased from 2001 to 2018, with the low-SDI states recording the highest rate of dowry deaths. The dip in these cases may have resulted from the 2010 judgment requiring prior harassment of the victim associated with a dowry shortfall which made it harder to register a dowry death but presumably also harder to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was a dowry death, and not in fact.[ 48 ] Furthermore, qualitative research has shown that the families of dowry death cases deter from accusing the husband or his family due to fear of issues with up-bringing of the children of their daughter [ 47 ]. Also dowry deaths or related suicide deaths are less likely to be reported by the natal family, who fear social stigma and negative impact on marriages of their other daughters [ 42 , 49 ]. In this context, it is not easy to interpret the decreased number of cases of dowry deaths in India as actual fewer dowry deaths, for which more evidence is needed.

Very few cases were filed under PWDVA with the middle-SDI states reporting no cases during the period studied. While PWDVA defines domestic violence to include coercive behaviour as well as physical, sexual, emotional and economic abuse [ 11 ], in actuality only extreme forms of physical violence with evidence of injury are seen to evoke a legal response [ 12 ]. Interviews with victims indicate that unless they were able to offer a dowry claim or show evidence of grave physical violence, the police were either reluctant to file an FIR or offer PWDVA as a legal recourse to them [ 12 ]. It is also documented that the police, acting as social brokers, attempt to fit the reported domestic violence cases into ‘normal constructs’ frequently focusing on dowry harassment despite the broadened scope of the law as a recourse for domestic violence beyond dowry harassment [ 5 ]. Thus, data under this crime heading is unlikely to reflect the true picture of domestic violence against women in India.

The poor response of formal system to domestic violence is also reflected in the legal recourse as only 6.8% of the cases filed completed trials in 2018, with the majority of accused being acquitted. This bleak state of waiting, extended trials and low conviction is known to further discourage women from reporting [ 50 ]. The legal process is also influenced by the patriarchy driven attitudes of the police and people in the legal systems [ 44 ], and their unwillingness to act on domestic violence cases which they view as “private matter,”[ 13 , 44 ] such that many cases are not investigated, or dropped due to delay in filing [ 5 ]. In other cases, the investigation is based on the statement of the husband or relatives rather than fingerprints [ 13 ], with the perpetrator of violence not even recorded in over 90% of the cases [ 5 ]. Notably, little empirical research is available on the perceptions of abusive husbands and families on domestic violence that can facilitate intervention programs for abusive husbands [ 34 ].

Limitations and way forward

There are limitations to the data presented and the interpretation. The NCRB data depend on the availability and quality of data recorded by the police at the local level, which is known to have varied quality [ 9 , 10 , 18 ]. The findings have to be interpreted within in this limitation as it is not possible for us to comment on the extent of underreporting of data or the pattern of underreporting by type of crime, year or state. The heterogeneity in the NCRB data at the state level highlighted by the noisy trends or stagnant trend for certain states do not allow for a meaningful interpretation, and calls for a robust assessment of the reporting practices by the police and judiciary at state level to identify the gaps for inadequate documentation and underreporting that can facilitate appropriate corrective measures to improve data quality [ 18 ]. We assumed the age group of affected women to be 15–49 years. Though majority of the cases are likely to be in this age group given the other available information, the unavailability of age of women affected by the type of crime, year and state restricts understanding of the target women for prevention and action. Currently, the data are available in heavily tabulated fixed formats that limit the extent of disaggregated analysis. Because of non-availability of data on number of victims for some years, we assumed the ratio of the number of cases to victims based on the available data for other years. More informative analyses may also be possible if the NCRB reports allow for anonymized individual level data to be available in the public domain, including repeat reports of domestic violence by individual women.

Despite NCRB being a passive surveillance source, efforts can be made to improve the quality of information collected by the police during their routine tasks to improve utilisation of these data for planning action. The World Health Organization injury surveillance guidelines could provide practical advice on collecting systematic data on domestic violence, which can be more comparable over time and location [ 51 ]. Training and sensitisation of the police to address gender violence should also include standardisations in capturing of the data and the quality of data captured.

Disasters, natural or otherwise, disproportionately impact women and girls with some evidence suggesting that violence against women increases in disaster settings, however, there is a lack of rigorously designed and good quality studies that are needed to inform evidence-based policies and safeguard women and girls during and after disasters [ 52 ]. There has also been suggestion of an increase in domestic violence against women during the Covid-19 pandemic, globally [ 53 ] and in India [ 54 , 55 ]. In this context, the urgency to address the gaps highlighted in the NCRB data is even more for India to protect its women against domestic violence.

India needs to address the gaps in the administrative data to effectively respond to the SDG target five to eliminate all forms of violence against women. This longitudual analysis of the reported cases of domestic violence of nearly 20 years across the Indian states has highlighted the under-reporting and almost stagnant data, which hinders formulating of well-informed public health intervention strategies to reduce domestic violence in India.

Availability of data and materials

The domestic violence related data used in these analyses are available at NCRB website ( https://ncrb.gov.in ) and from the authors on request. The GBD population data used in these analyses are available at GBD Results Tool | GHDx (healthdata.org).


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RD and GAK conceptualised this paper. RD drafted the manuscript with contributions from AG and GAK. SG, SK and GAK performed data analysis. All authors contributed to the interpretation and agreed with the final version of the paper. RD and GAK had full access to all the data in the study and had the final responsibility for the decision to submit for publication. All authors had access to the estimates presented in the paper. RD and GAK verified the data underlying this study. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Additional file 1.

. Definitions of crime headings considered under domestic violence. IPC denotes Indian Penal Code.

Additional file 2

. Crime rate for cruelty by husband or his relatives per 100,000 women aged 15-49 years in the Indian states categorised as having low Socio-demographic Index, 2001-18.

Additional file 3.

Crime rate for cruelty by husband or his relatives per 100,000 women aged 15-49 years in the Indian states categorised as having middle Socio-demographic Index, 2001-18. Telangana state not shown as it was formed in 2014.

Additional file 4.

Crime rate for cruelty by husband or his relatives per 100,000 women aged 15-49 years in the Indian states categorised as having high Socio-demographic Index, 2001-18.

Additional file 5.

Mean numbers of persons arrested under cruelty by husband or his relatives and dowry deaths for the years 2001-2018, and under abetment of suicide of women and PWDVA for the years 2014-2018. SDI denotes Socio-demographic Index. The state wise data for mean number of persons arrested was available until 2015 only.

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Dandona, R., Gupta, A., George, S. et al. Domestic violence in Indian women: lessons from nearly 20 years of surveillance. BMC Women's Health 22 , 128 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-022-01703-3

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Domestic violence against women in India: A systematic review of a decade of quantitative studies

Ameeta kalokhe.

a Division of Infectious Diseases, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA

b Hubert Department of Global Health, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA, USA

Carlos del Rio

Kristin dunkle.

c Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA, USA

Rob Stephenson

d Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities, University of Michigan School of Public Health and School of Nursing, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Nicholas Metheny

Anuradha paranjape.

e General Internal Medicine, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Seema Sahay

f Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, National AIDS Research Institute, Pune, India

Associated Data

Domestic violence (DV) is prevalent among women in India and has been associated with poor mental and physical health. We performed a systematic review of 137 quantitative studies published in the prior decade that directly evaluated the DV experiences of Indian women to summarise the breadth of recent work and identify gaps in the literature. Among studies surveying at least two forms of abuse, a median 41% of women reported experiencing DV during their lifetime and 30% in the past year. We noted substantial inter-study variance in DV prevalence estimates, attributable in part to different study populations and settings, but also to a lack of standardisation, validation, and cultural adaptation of DV survey instruments. There was paucity of studies evaluating the DV experiences of women over age 50, residing in live-in relationships, same-sex relationships, tribal villages, and of women from the northern regions of India. Additionally, our review highlighted a gap in research evaluating the impact of DV on physical health. We conclude with a research agenda calling for additional qualitative and longitudinal quantitative studies to explore the DV correlates proposed by this quantitative literature to inform the development of a culturally tailored DV scale and prevention strategies.


Domestic violence (DV), defined by the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 as physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and economic abuse against women by a partner or family member residing in a joint family, plagues the lives of many women in India. National statistics that utilise a modified version of the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS) to measure the prevalence of lifetime physical, sexual, and/or emotional DV estimate that 40% of women experience abuse at the hands of a partner ( Yoshikawa, Agrawal, Poudel, & Jimba, 2012 ). Data from a recent systematic review by the World Health Organization (WHO) provides similar regional estimates and suggests that women in South-East Asia (defined as India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Timor-Leste) are at a higher likelihood for experiencing partner abuse during their lifetime than women from Europe, the Western Pacific, and potentially the Americas ( WHO, 2013 ).

Among the different proposed causes for the high DV frequency in India are deep-rooted male patriarchal roles ( Visaria, 2000 ) and long-standing cultural norms that propagate the view of women as subordinates throughout their lifespan ( Fernandez, 1997 ; Gundappa & Rathod, 2012 ). Even before a child is born, many families have a clear preference for male children, which may result in their preferential care, and worse, sex-selective abortions, female infanticide and abandonment of the girl-child ( Gundappa & Rathod, 2012 ). During childhood, less importance is given to the education of female children; further, early marriage as occurs in 45% of young, married women, according to 2005–2006 National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) data ( Raj, Saggurti, Balaiah, & Silverman, 2009 ), may also heighten susceptibility to DV ( Ackerson, Kawachi, Barbeau, & Subramanian, 2008 ; Raj, Saggurti, Lawrence, Balaiah, & Silverman, 2010 ; Santhya et al., 2010 ; Speizer & Pearson, 2011 ). In reproductive years, mothers pregnant with and/or those who give birth to only female children may be more susceptible to abuse ( Mahapatro, Gupta, Gupta, & Kundu, 2011 ) and financial, medical, and nutritional neglect. Later in life, culturally bred views of dishonour associated with widowhood may also influence susceptibility to DV by other family members ( Saravanan, 2000 ).

In addition to being prevalent in India, DV has also been linked to numerous deleterious health behaviours and poor mental and physical health. These includes tobacco use ( Ackerson, Kawachi, Barbeau, & Subramanian, 2007 ), lack of contraceptive and condom use ( Stephenson, Koenig, Acharya, & Roy, 2008 ), diminished utilisation of health care ( Sudha & Morrison, 2011 ; Sudha, Morrison, & Zhu, 2007 ), higher frequencies of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and attempted suicide ( Chandra, Satyanarayana, & Carey, 2009 ; Chowdhury, Brahma, Banerjee, & Biswas, 2009 ; Maselko & Patel, 2008 ; Shahmanesh, Wayal, Cowan, et al., 2009 ; Shidhaye & Patel, 2010 ; Verma et al., 2006 ), sexually transmitted infections (STI) ( Chowdhary & Patel, 2008 ; Sudha & Morrison, 2011 ; Weiss et al., 2008 ), HIV( Gupta et al., 2008 ; Silverman, Decker, Saggurti, Balaiah, & Raj, 2008 ), asthma ( Subramanian, Ackerson, Subramanyam, & Wright, 2007 ), anaemia ( Ackerson & Subramanian, 2008 ), and chronic fatigue ( Patel et al., 2005 ). Furthermore, maternal intimate partner violence (IPV) experiences have been associated with more terminated, unintended pregnancies ( Begum, Dwivedi, Pandey, & Mittal, 2010 ; Yoshikawa et al., 2012 ), less breastfeeding ( Shroff et al., 2011 ), perinatal care ( Koski, Stephenson, & Koenig, 2011 ), and poor child outcomes ( Ackerson & Subramanian, 2009 ). These negative health repercussions and high DV frequency speak to the need for the development of effective DV prevention and management strategies. And, the development of effective DV interventions first requires valid measures of occurrence and an in-depth understanding of its epidemiology.

While many aspects of DV are similar across cultures, recent qualitative studies describe how some aspects of the DV experienced by women in India may be unique. These studies highlight the role of non-partner DV perpetrators for those living in both nuclear and joint-families ( Fernandez, 1997 ; Kaur & Garg, 2010 ; Raj et al., 2011 ). (These families are patrilineal where male descendants live with their wives, offspring, parents, and unmarried sisters.) They discuss the high frequency and near normalisation of control, psychological abuse, neglect, and isolation, the occurrence of DV to women at both extremes of age (young and old), dowry harassments, control over reproductive choices and family planning, and demonstrate the use of different tools to inflict abuse (i.e. kerosene burning, stones, and broomsticks as opposed to gun and knife violence more commonly seen in industrialised nations) ( Bunting, 2005 ; Go et al., 2003 ; Hampton, 2010 ; Jutla & Heimbach, 2004 ; Kaur & Garg, 2010 ; Kermode et al., 2007 ; Kumar & Kanth, 2004 ; Peck, 2012 ; Rastogi & Therly, 2006 ; Sharma, Harish, Gupta, & Singh, 2005 ; Stephenson et al., 2008 ; Wilson-Williams, Stephenson, Juvekar, & Andes, 2008 ).

This paper presents a systematic review of the quantitative studies conducted over the past decade that estimate and assess DV experienced by women in India, and evaluates their scope and capacity to measure the DV themes highlighted by recent qualitative studies. It aims to examine the distribution of the prevalence estimates provided by the recent literature of DV occurrence in India, improve understanding of the factors that may affect these prevalence estimates, and identify gaps in current studies. This enhanced knowledge will help inform future research including new interventions for the prevention and management of DV in India.

We utilised PubMed, OVID, Cochrane Reviews, PsycINFO, and CINAHL as search engines to identify articles published between 1 April 2004 and 1 January 2015 that focused on the DV experiences of women in India ( Figure 1 ). Our specific search terms included ‘domestic violence’, ‘intimate partner violence’, ‘spouse abuse’, ‘partner violence’, ‘gender-based violence’, ‘sexual violence’, ‘physical violence’, ‘wife battering’, ‘wife beating’, ‘domestic abuse’, ‘violence’, and ‘India’. We first removed duplicate articles and then filtered the articles based on our inclusion criteria: quantitative studies evaluating original data that had been published in English and directly surveyed the DV experiences of women. While we recognise that in cultures where DV is commonplace the reporting of DV perpetration by men may be as high as the frequency of experiencing DV reported by women ( Koenig, Stephenson, Ahmed, Jejeebhoy, & Campbell, 2006 ), we restricted our eligibility criteria to studies directly surveying women about their DV experiences to reduce further inter-study variation and allow for more accurate cross-study comparisons. We excluded reviews, case reports, meta-analyses, and qualitative studies. A single author (ASK or NM) reviewed each individual article to determine whether it met inclusion criteria. If questions arose regarding its inclusion into the review, they were discussed with a second author (SS) until concordance was reached regarding whether or not the paper was to be included.

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Adapted PRISMA Flow Diagram demonstrating study selection methodologies and filter results.

Note: An initial PubMed search of articles published between 1 April 2004 and 1 January 2015 focusing on the DV experiences of women in India is depicted. This figure illustrates the search terms, search engines, applied inclusion and exclusion filters, the process by which articles were chosen to be included in the study, and the results of the selection process.

We collected data from each study regarding study population; study setting; use of a validated scale; forms of, perpetrators of, and time frame during which DV was measured; whether an attempt was made to measure severity of DV; whether potential DV correlates were evaluated; and whether DV prevalence was estimated. We subcategorised the forms of violence into physical, sexual, psychological, control, and neglect based on descriptions of questions provided in the studies. Emotional and verbal forms of abuse were classified as psychological abuse and deprivation was classified as neglect. If the study asked participants about agency or autonomy, this was noted in the summary tables. In publications where information about the DV assessment tool and its validation was not provided, we contacted the authors for more information. If authors reported having conducted formative fieldwork to generate questions, pre-tested the items, and/or conducted some assessment of the measurement tool’s expert or face validity, we reported the validation as ‘limited’. If we did not hear back from the authors, we stated the data were ‘not reported’.

Article yield of systematic search

Our initial search of DV articles published in PubMed, OVID, Cochrane Reviews, PsycINFO, and CINAHL between 1 April 2004 and 1 January 2015 yielded 3843 articles ( Figure 1 ). We identified 628 articles using search terms ‘domestic violence’ and ‘India’, 283 articles using ‘intimate partner violence’ and ‘India’, 98 articles using ‘spouse abuse’ and ‘India’, 221 articles using ‘partner violence and India’, 54 articles using ‘gender-based violence’ and ‘India’, 199 articles using ‘sexual violence’ and ‘India’, 120 articles using ‘physical violence’ and ‘India’, 1 article using ‘wife battering’ and ‘India’, 51 articles using ‘wife beating’ and ‘India’, 10 articles using ‘domestic abuse’ and ‘India’, and 2022 articles using ‘violence’ and ‘India’. Of the 3843 articles, 3705 articles were removed because they (1) were duplicated in the search, (2) focused on extraneous topics, (3) lacked Indian context, (4) were not based on original quantitative data, or (5) were based on study data that were not directly obtained through surveying women about their personal DV experiences. Thus, the selection criteria yielded a total of 137 studies examining the DV experiences of women in India: 14 international studies (see Table 1 in supplementary material ), 50 multi-state India studies (see Table 2 in supplementary material ), and 73 single-state India studies (see Table 3 in supplementary material ).

The scope and breadth of recent studies: study populations

Collectively, the reviewed studies provide information on the DV experienced by young and middle-aged women in traditional heterosexual marriages from both urban and rural environments, joint and nuclear families, across Indian states ( Figure 2 ). Among the studies specifying age limits, the vast majority (88% or 92/104) evaluated DV experienced by women age 15–50, with only 11% (11/104) of studies surveying DV suffered by women above age 50 and 1% (1/104) evaluating DV experienced by young adolescents (wed before age 15). Only one study assessed DV experienced by women in HIV discordant. No studies surveyed DV in non-traditional relationships, such as same-sex relationships or live-in relationships. Less than one-third (29% or 40/137) collected data differentiating DV experienced by women in joint versus nuclear families. Thirty-seven per cent (51/137) evaluated domestic abuse suffered by women living in urban settings, 18% (24/137) in rural, and the remainder (44% or 60/137) in both rural and urban environments. Only one examined DV experienced by women residing in tribes. Twenty-three per cent (32/137) and 3% (4/137) utilised a nationally representative and sub-nationally representative study population, respectively. Southern Indian states were by far the most surveyed in the literature (Maharashtra 66 studies, Tamil Nadu 59 studies, and Karnataka 51 studies) and Northern Indian states the least (Uttaranchal, Sikkim, Punjab, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, and Assam each with 33 studies).

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A summary of the distribution of recent Indian DV literature by region, state, surveyed perpetrator, and family type.

Note: (a) demonstrates the distribution of studies by rural versus urban region, (b) by state, (c) by the perpetrator surveyed, and (d) whether the survey collected data differentiating DV in joint versus nuclear family households.

Prevalence of DV in India

Collectively, the reviewed studies demonstrate that DV occurs among Indian women with high frequency but there is substantial variation in the reported prevalence estimates across all forms of DV ( Figure 3 ). For example, the median and range of lifetime estimates of psychological abuse was 22% (range 2–99%), physical abuse was 29% (2–99%), sexual abuse was 12% (0–75%), and multiple forms of DV was 41% (18–75%). The outliers at the upper extremes were contributed by a study of in low-income slum communities with high prevalence of substance abuse( Solomon et al., 2009 ) and a second study conducted in a tertiary care centre where surveys were self-administered and thus participants may have felt increased comfort in reporting DV( Sharma & Vatsa, 2011 ). The median and range of past-year estimates of psychological abuse was 22% (11–48%), physical abuse was 22% (9–90%), sexual abuse was 7% (0–50%), and multiple forms of DV was 30% (4–56%). The outlier of 90% for physical abuse was contributed by a study of women whose husbands were alcoholics in treatment ( Stanley, 2012 ). As expected, higher DV prevalence was noted when multiple forms of DV were assessed. Of all forms of DV, physical abuse was measured most frequently, with psychological abuse, sexual abuse, and control or neglect receiving substantially less attention. Further statistical analysis beyond these descriptive statistics was not conducted due to the large inter-study heterogeneity of designs and populations limiting comparability across studies.

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A summary of the lifetime and past 12-month prevalence estimates of the various forms of DV as documented by each individual study.

Note: Circles, squares, upright triangles, and inverted triangles represent prevalence estimates of psychological, physical, sexual, and multiple forms of DV, respectively, as provided by each individual study. While medians and ranges are provided, further analysis was not carried out due to the limited homogeneity between studies impeding accurate comparison.

The scope and breadth of recent studies: study design

The past decade of quantitative India DV research has included a breadth of large regional and international studies as well as smaller scale, single-state studies. However, the capacity to draw causal inferences from this literature has been limited by the nearly exclusive use of cross-sectional design. The country and regional-level studies utilised larger, often nationally or sub-nationally representative samples (average sample size: 25,857 women, range: 111–124,385), to provide inter-country or regional epidemiologic comparisons. The single-state studies tended to use smaller sample sizes (average: 1109 women, range: 30–9639) to provide a more in-depth evaluation of DV experienced in a particular population of women.

The vast majority of all reviewed studies utilised cross-sectional design, with only 12% (17/137) using a prospective design to draw causal inferences. Six of these 13 utilised the NFHS-2 and four-year follow-up data from the rural regions of four states to evaluate the effect of DV on mental health disorders ( Shidhaye & Patel, 2010 ), a woman’s adoption of contraception, occurrence of unwanted pregnancy ( Stephenson et al., 2008 ), uptake of prenatal care ( Koski et al., 2011 ), early childhood mortality ( Koenig et al., 2010 ), functional autonomy and reproduction ( Bourey, Stephenson, & Hindin, 2013 ), and contraceptive adoption ( Stephenson, Jadhav, & Hindin, 2013 ), while one used the data to evaluate the effect of autonomy on experience of physical violence ( Nongrum, Thomas, Lionel, & Jacob, 2014 ; Sabarwal, Santhya, & Jejeebhoy, 2014 ). Only one study employed a case-control study to evaluate the link between DV and child mortality ( Varghese, Prasad, & Jacob, 2013 ) and another utilised a randomised control design to evaluate the effect of a mixed individual and group women’s behavioural intervention in reducing DV and marital conflict over time ( Saggurti et al., 2014 ). The remainder of prospective studies evaluated the causal association between DV and incident STIs and/or attempted suicide ( Chowdhary & Patel, 2008 ; Maselko & Patel, 2008 ; Weiss et al., 2008 ), DV and maternal and neonatal health outcomes ( Nongrum et al., 2014 ), the effect of the type of interviewing (face-to-face versus audio computer-assisted self-interviews) on DV reporting ( Rathod, Minnis, Subbiah, & Krishnan, 2011 ), trends in DV occurrence over time ( Simister & Mehta, 2010 ), and the effect of change in a woman or her spouse’s employment status on her experience of DV ( Krishnan et al., 2010 ).

The scope and breadth of recent studies: DV measures

Only 61% (84/137) of studies reported use of a validated scale or made attempts to validate the instrument they ultimately used. When use of a validated instrument was reported, most (82% or 69/84) had been developed for the cultural context of North America and Europe (i.e. modified CTS, Abuse Assessment Screen, Index of Spouse Abuse, Woman Abuse Screening Tool, Partner Violence Screen, Composite Abuse Scale, and Sexual Experience Scale). In fact, only 15 of the studies reporting use of a validated questionnaire adapted or developed their instrument to the Indian context by surveying themes raised by the prior qualitative literature (i.e. use of belts, sticks, and burning to inflict physical abuse, restricting return to natal family home, not allowing natal family to visit marital home). As expected, these studies reported higher frequencies of DV. In personal communication, some authors who chose not to use validated, widely used DV scales (i.e. CTS) stated they did so because of space limitations and inadequacy of existing tools for measuring DV in the Indian cultural context.

Two-thirds of studies (64% or 87/137) assessed two or fewer forms of DV. Of all forms of DV, physical abuse was evaluated most frequently (96% or 131/137), followed by sexual abuse (58% or 79/137), psychological abuse (44% or 60/137), neglect and control (4% or 7/137). Only 11% (15/137) of studies evaluated DV perpetrated by non-partner family members. For these studies evaluating DV perpetrated by partners and non-partner family members, available estimates of lifetime sexual and psychological abuse were always higher than the median prevalence estimates of reviewed studies; available estimates of lifetime physical abuse were often, but not universally, higher. Only 20% (109/137) attempted to evaluate different levels of DV severity. While many (43% or 59/137) studies evaluated lifetime violence, a considerable number assessed recent DV (42% or 58/137 past-12 month DV, 5% or 7/137 past-6 month DV, 4% or 5/137 past-3 month DV, and 4% or 6/137 the time period of current or research partnerships). Additionally, 10% (14/137) evaluated DV occurrence during pregnancy or the peri-partum period.

The scope and breadth of recent studies: measured outcomes

Figure 4 provides a framework for synthesising the potential DV correlates measured to date. It demonstrates that the focus of the quantitative literature has largely been on the mental health and gynecologic consequences of DV but has only begun to evaluate repercussions on physical health and health behaviour. Twelve per cent (16/137) of the studies evaluated one or multiple mental health disorder as outcomes of DV, including PTSD, depression, and suicide, but not anxiety. The literature provided a comprehensive evaluation of the association between DV and gynaecologic health including sexual (15% or 21/137) and maternal health (8% or 11/137). However, only six studies were dedicated to evaluating physical health outcomes (oral health, nutrition, chronic fatigue, asthma, direct injury, and blindness during pregnancy). And while 17 studies were dedicated to evaluating the association between DV and uptake of health behaviours, 11 of the 15 were focused on behaviours related to sexual and maternal health. Thus, the association between health behaviours like the woman’s substance abuse and adherence to medical and clinical care remains largely understudied, as does the link between DV and physical health outcomes such as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disease, chronic pain syndromes (including migraines), and urinary tract infections.

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A framework for conceptualising the reviewed studies.

Note: The proposed framework provides structure for interpreting and synthesising the prior decade’s quantitative research evaluating the domestic violence experienced by women in India.

The past 10 years have been an incredible period of growth in DV research in India and South Asia. Our systematic review contributes to the growing body of evidence by providing an important summary of the epidemiologic studies during this critical period and draws attention to the magnitude and severity of the ongoing epidemic in India. Comprehensively, the reviewed literature estimates that 4 in 10 Indian women (when surveyed about multiple forms of abuse) report experiencing DV in their lifetime and 3 in 10 report experiencing DV in the past year. This is concordant with the WHO lifetime estimate of 37.7% (95% CI: 30.9%43.1%) in South-East Asia (defined as India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Timor-Leste) and is higher than the regional estimates provided by the WHO for the Europe, the Western Pacific, and potentially the Americas. In addition to highlighting the high frequency of occurrence, the studies in this review emphasise the toll DV takes on the lives of many Indian women through its impact on mental, physical, sexual, and reproductive health.

Perhaps the most striking finding of our review was the large inter-study variance in DV prevalence estimates ( Figure 3 ). While this variability speaks to the capacity of the India literature to capture the breadth of DV experiences in different populations and settings, it also underscores the need for standardising aspects of study design in the investigator’s control to make effective inter-study and cross-population comparisons. Standardisation of the instruments used to measure DV should be a priority. To optimise the yield of such an instrument in capturing the DV experiences of Indian women, it should build upon currently available, well-validated instruments, but also be culturally tailored. Thus, it should account for the culturally prominent forms of DV identified by the Indian qualitative literature and social media, survey abuse inflicted by non-partner perpetrators, survey multiple forms abuse (i.e. physical, sexual, psychological, and control), and ideally, include a measure of DV severity (i.e. based on frequency of affirmative responses, frequency of abuse, or resultant injury). Our review demonstrates that current studies fall short, with only 61% reporting use of validated questions (rarely developed or adapted to Indian culture), 11% surveying DV perpetrated by non-partner family members, 64% assessing more than two different forms of abuse, and 20% evaluating level of DV severity. Our review also suggests that when questions assessing DV are culturally adapted and validated, evaluate multiple forms of abuse, and survey abusive behaviours by non-partner family members in addition to partners, reporting of DV increases.

While our search yielded many well-designed cross-sectional studies providing insight into the epidemiology of DV in India (i.e. patterns of occurrence, socio-demographic, and health correlates), it also revealed many gaps and thus, a potential research agenda. Future qualitative studies are needed to examine the link between DV and correlates identified by the cross-sectional literature, to inform the development of future prevention strategies, and to enhance delivery of DV supportive services by examining survivor preferences and needs. Additional longitudinal quantitative studies are also needed to better understand predictors of DV and to explore the direction of causality between DV and the physical health associations identified in the reviewed studies. They are also needed to assess the link between DV and other physical health outcomes like injury, cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel syndrome, immune effects, and psychosomatic syndromes as well as non-sexual health behaviours such as substance abuse and medication adherence. This is particularly paramount in India, where physical injury and cardiovascular disease together account for over a quarter of disability-adjusted life years lost ( National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health, 2005 ).

Additionally, our review also exposed gaps in the current understanding of DV in some populations and regions of India. For example, most studies focused on women of age 15–50. Only 11 reported on the DV experiences of women over 50, a stage where frailty, financial and physical dependence, and culturally engendered shame and disgrace associated with widowhood may heighten their risk of experiencing DV, neglect, and control by various family members ( Solotaroff & Pande, 2014 ). And, while 43% of Indian women aged 20–24 marry before the age of 18, we encountered few studies evaluating DV experienced by pre-adolescents or young adolescents married as children ( UNICEF, 2014 ). An additional gap is in evaluating the DV experiences of women engaging in live-in relationships as opposed to marital relationships, divorced or widowed women, women involved in same-sex relationships, and in HIV serodiscordant and concordant relationships, settings in which social and family support systems are already weakened ( Kohli et al., 2012 ). Next, beyond the national and multi-state data sets, there is little representation of the northern states of India (i.e. Uttaranchal, Sikkim, Punjab, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, and Assam) and of women residing in tribal villages ( Sethuraman, Lansdown, & Sullivan, 2006 ). The vast cultural, religious, and socio-economic inter-regional differences in India highlight the need for more in-depth study of the DV experiences of women in these areas.

The high prevalence of DV and its association with deleterious behaviours and poor health outcomes further speak to the need for multi-faceted, culturally tailored preventive strategies that target potential victims and perpetrators of violence. The recent Five Year Strategic Plan (2011–2016) released by the Ministry of Women and Child Development discusses a plan to pilot ‘one-stop crisis centres for women’ survivors of violence, which would include medical, legal, law enforcement, counselling, and shelter support for themselves and their children. The significant differences in women’s empowerment and DV experience by region and population within India ( Kishor & Gupta, 2004 ) underscore the need to culturally- and regionally tailor the screening and support services provided at such centres. For example, in resource-limited states where sexual forms of DV predominate, priority should be given to the allocation of health-care providers to evaluate, document, and treat associated injuries and/or transmitted diseases. In settings where financial control and neglect are common, legal, financial, and educational empowerment may need to be given precedence.

Our review is not without limitations. First, our analysis relied solely on data directly provided in the publications. We did not further contact the authors if information was not provided. Second, a single author (ASK or NM) reviewed the individual papers for inclusion into the review, which may have introduced a selection bias. We tried to limit this bias through discussion of the papers in which eligibility was not clear-cut with a second author (SS) until agreement about the inclusion status was reached. Next, we included studies whose main intent was to evaluate the DV experiences of Indian women as well as studies whose main aim may not have been related to DV at all, but included DV as a covariate in the analysis. Thus, many of the studies that solely included DV as a covariate may not have had the intent or resources to fully examine the DV experience. While this may be viewed as a limitation, our goal was not to critically evaluate each individual study, but to comprehensively review the information currently provided in the Indian DV literature. Lastly, inclusion of multiple studies that utilise the same data set (e.g. NFHS) may have skewed the overall median estimate of DV prevalence and the remainder of our analysis. We felt, however, that the substantial differences in DV assessment (e.g. measurement time frames, forms of DV assessed, whether DV severity was assessed, and measured health correlates) between these studies legitimised their need to be included as separate entities in the review.

In conclusion, our literature review underscores the need for further studies within India evaluating the DV experiences of older women, women in same-sex relationships, and live-in relationships, extending the assessment of DV perpetrated by individuals besides intimate partners and spouses, and assessing the multiple forms and levels of abuse. It further stresses the necessity for the development and validation (in multiple regions and study populations within India) of a culturally tailored DV scale and interventions geared towards the prevention and management of DV.

Supplementary Material

Tables and table references, acknowledgments.

This work was supported by the US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Fogarty International Center [grant number 1 R25 TW009337-01 K01 TW009664].

Supplemental data for this article can be accessed at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17441692.2015.1119293

Disclosure statement

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

Ameeta Kalokhe , http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3556-1786

Seema Sahay , http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6064-827X

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2022, ijetrm journal

This paper deals with protection of women against domestic violence 1 The starting point of the Act lies in Article 15 (2) of the Constitution of India, which obviously says that "State can make exceptional arrangements for ladies and kids" towards understanding the directly to correspondence. 2 This shows the utilization of governmental policy regarding minorities in society to cure an off-base. It is frequently said that India has a few laws however they are not executed. 3 The issue, be that as it may, isn't the absence of usage, yet the absence of a component by which it tends to be executed. Ladies have deficient comprehension of the law and absence of access to the courts. Subsequently it is important not exclusively to institute a law however to furnish the fundamental infrastructural instruments with which to get to the law. 4 The method for doing this is to set up a component in the law itself. In the Act, this has been finished by making the workplace of the Protection Officer and perceiving the job of the Service Providers. The present study is an empirical study done by survey method. The simple random sampling method was used for the purpose of the research. There were totally 1502 respondents who were took as the samples. 5 The independent variables are took here was age and gender. The dependent variables are …. The alternate hypothesis is proved in this research i.e There is a significant relationship between the Age and the thought that the domestic violence is invisible in our society an d also the Protection of Women Domestic Violence Act (2005. A reduced domestic violence crime in India.

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Violence against women one of the growing crime in India and a pervasive issue, constitutes one of the most serious forms of human rights violation. The violations force women to keep out of the social and economical life. Violence against women is not only a crime; it is also violates women's human rights. The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women provided a consensus definition of violence against women as "Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life" (Fried, S. T, 2003). There are many types of violence against women exist in our society, the most common among them is by intimate partners. Article 2 of the UN declaration states some forms of violence as "Violence against women should encompass, but not be limit to acts of physical, sexual, and physiological violence in the family and the community. This acts include spousal battering, sexual abuse of female children, dowry related violence, rape, including marital rape, and traditional practices harmful to women; such as female genital mutilation, non-spousal violence, sexual harassment and intimidation at work and educational institutions, trafficking of women, forced prostitution, and violence perpetrated and condoned by the state such as rape in war" (UNFPA, 2004). Initiatives have taken to stop violence against women across the countries in all ways irrespective of status, class, and region. Despite great deal of progress and policies to end violence against women obstacles remain strong and gaps in legislation process and implementation of policies.. In order to identify the causes that lead to gender inequality we need to identify the structure of the system that creates or help to sustain gender inequality strong ever. The latest U.N. Gender Equality Index, indicates India has one of the worst gender differentials ranking 132 out of 148 nations, It's important to state this ranking because India one of the developing countries have a written constitution that assures equality for all citizens irrespective of caste, color and sex. After independence, India has taken many steps to empower women and provisions to develop the condition of women in society. Despite all this laws and developmental programs situation of women in India continues to be worse. Society has created different gender roles and behaviors for males and females and this reinforced within the society through customs. This gendered behavior for men and women making one section inferior for others and it creates inequalities and forming condition for gender based violence. The roots of gender inequality and it's sustain factors in India can be identify in the social institutions that promotes gender roles and identification. Religion has provided the platform for the male supremacy and marginalization of women in the society. The traditional patterns of male preference, gender roles in family, inheritance, marriage systems, everything has contributed to the development of social perception of women as inferior and submissive. Social and culture boundaries plays an important role in developing masculine and feminine roles, what is to be done by whom and which role is suitable to whom. Despite several policies and programs to eradicate gender inequality gender gap remains the same. Domestic violence in Indian family is one of the pervasive problem facing women in our society, most of the cases gone unreported. Beating wife is justified in Indian family system, as it is a custom to being subjugated to husband. It says if husband hit wife it should be the responsibility of wife to accept that for the happiness of family. In IPC S. 498A states that "Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty-Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine" (Law Commission of India Report, 2012). However, the law has made to end up domestic violence. Many women prefer to stay with husband even after subject to violence is mainly because of the stigma of divorced women are not welcomed in Indian society. It is difficult for divorced women to live in society, as going back to her family treated as giving burden for family and living alone difficult due to societal rules. Psychological effect is the most danger consequence of domestic violence among victims who forced to living with the assailant with fear and stress. Domestic violence makes negative impact on children, it cause increase aggressiveness in children (Sharon, 2014). Women are being treated as inferior to men. Concept of "good women" who fulfill her "first duty" as a mother to take care of children, as a wife to be obedient and loyal to husband has been treated as the good qualities, and duty of a women. Being beaten by husband is not treated as a crime in our society instead of that it considered as symbol of love and duty of women to obey the husband despite of violence; this situation often

B.Aadhar Publication Special Issue March ISSN 2278-9308


The Indian Constitution envisages its vision and mission in its Preamble clearly. Justice, liberty, equality and fraternity are the four noble concepts and pillars of the law in India. Arbitrary interpretation of the law is always dismantled the justice system. But justice in judges is still alive in India through some landmark judgments. Domestic violence is the violation of the gender equality. It is also a violation of fundamental human rights. Fearful and insecure role of women and patriarchal social approach are some of the causes for domestic violence. Ignorance, alcohol, internet and lack of sex in marital life are the major causes for the domestic violence. Integrated value based education can be a remedy for the domestic violence in some degree.


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    thesis on domestic violence in india pdf


    thesis on domestic violence in india pdf


    thesis on domestic violence in india pdf

  4. Domestic Violence in India

    thesis on domestic violence in india pdf

  5. (PDF) Domestic violence in India: An empirical analysis

    thesis on domestic violence in india pdf

  6. (DOC) Domestic Violence in India Against Women: A Literature Review

    thesis on domestic violence in india pdf



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  1. Shodhganga@INFLIBNET: Protection of Women Under the Domestic Violence

    Protection of Women Under the Domestic Violence Law in India A Critical Study: Researcher: Kaushik, Shyam Krishan: Guide(s): Raina, B K and Coutinho, V B: Keywords: Domestic Violence Law Law ... Adobe PDF: View/Open: 03_preliminary pages.pdf: 224.68 kB: Adobe PDF: View/Open: 04_chapter 1.pdf: 285.1 kB: Adobe PDF: View/Open: 05_chapter 2.pdf ...

  2. Shodhganga@INFLIBNET: Domestic Violence Against Women in India A Socio

    The Shodhganga@INFLIBNET Centre provides a platform for research students to deposit their Ph.D. theses and make it available to the entire scholarly community in open access. Shodhganga@INFLIBNET. Bhagat Phool Singh Mahila Vishwavidyalaya. Department of Laws.

  3. PDF Domestic Violence in India: An Empirical Analysis

    The research findings of the present paper are based on a nationally representative sample of 90,303 ever-married women in the age group 15-49 years. The data is analyzed using SPSS 11.5 and our analytical approach includes both bivariate and multivariate analysis.

  4. PDF Violence Against Women in India: A Closer Look at the Social and Legal

    thesis addresses two main research questions: 1) What factors contribute to the increase in cases of VAW in India and how the legal system addresses these factors, and 2) What policies and schemes are employed to empower women and provide support services to women victims of violence, and what are the effects of these policies/schemes.

  5. (PDF) Women & Domestic Violence: A Study in India

    Asian continent with a focus on India as the selected country The justifications for the selection of India among all other Asian countries among others are domestic abuse affects 70% of women in ...

  6. (Pdf) Domestic Violence in India Against Women: a Analysis of

    domestic violence in india against women: a analysis of literature review "a ugc care group 1 journal anvesak - issn 0378-4568" June 2022 DOI: 10.13144/RG.2.2.35232.00001

  7. PDF A Study in Domestic Violence Against Women in India: Determinants and

    1.6 Domestic Violence In India 1.7 Factors Affecting Violence Against Women CHAPTER 2: DATA AND METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY 2.1 Introduction 2.2 Aims And Objectives 2.3 Significance Of Our Study 2.4 Data 2.5 Measurement Of Domestic Violence In NFHS-2 And NFHS-3 2.6 Correlates Of Domestic Violence

  8. Domestic violence in Indian women: lessons from nearly 20 years of

    Background Prevalence of self-reported domestic violence against women in India is high. This paper investigates the national and sub-national trends in domestic violence in India to prioritise prevention activities and to highlight the limitations to data quality for surveillance in India. Methods Data were extracted from annual reports of National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB) under four ...

  9. PDF Domestic Violence against Women: An Analysis

    Abstract. Violence against women is partly a result of gender relations that assumes men to be superior to women. Given the subordinate status of women, much of gender violence is considered normal and enjoys social sanction. Violence includes physical aggression, sexual abuse, and psychological violence.

  10. (PDF) Dowry and Domestic Violence Against Women In India

    N. A. Source: NFHS Website. The National Family Health Survey of India found domestic violence against women in India during the research period. According to the 5th NFHS, around 29.3 percent of ...

  11. PDF A Socio Legal Study on Dowry and Domestic Violence in India

    IN INDIA The issues of violence against women are emerging at an increasing rate day by day. Both literate and illiterate women have faced such kind of violence at some time in their life. To stand with women and to cater the growing needs of the society, the parliament enacted the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

  12. PDF The Impact of Media on Attitudes Towards Domestic Violence in India

    Gender discrimination and domestic violence are endemic in India and pose an issue of tremendous human rights and public health concern. However, violence against women ... I would like to thank my thesis advisor, Professor Prakarsh Singh, for his help and guidance during all stages of my thesis work. Thank you for being invested in this project

  13. Domestic violence against women in India: A systematic review of a

    Domestic violence (DV) is prevalent among women in India and has been associated with poor mental and physical health. We performed a systematic review of 137 quantitative studies published in the prior decade that directly evaluated the DV experiences of Indian women to summarise the breadth of recent work and identify gaps in the literature.

  14. PDF Dowry and Domestic Violence against Women in India

    Table:1 Domestic Violence faced by the Women in India Source: NFHS Website The National Family Health Survey of India found domestic violence against women in India during the research period. According to the 5th NFHS, around 29.3 percent of women in India suffered domestic abuse during 2019-21.

  15. PDF Dissertation on "Impact of The Protection of Women From Domestic

    VIOLENCE Domestic violence is as old as recorded history which has been reported in virtually every society, every civilization. Discrimination and oppression leading to physical, mental or emotional violence have been accepted as a part of every patriarchal society. Except recent reference is found, domestic violence

  16. PDF ISSN Print: ISSN Online: Domestic violence in India- An analysis

    According to a National Family and Health Survey in 2005, total lifetime prevalence of domestic violence was 33.5% and 8.5% for sexual violence among women aged 15-49. The instance of violence was reported to be lowest among Buddhist and Jain women, and highest among Muslim women in India.

  17. (PDF) Domestic Violence Against Women's in India A Study

    Abstract. Domestic violence is a very well known and most frequent towar ds. women' s in India. Domestic violence against women is understood as a. situation supported and reinfor ced by gender ...

  18. (Pdf) a Research Paper on Domestic Violence Against Women'S in India

    This paper deals with protection of women against domestic violence 1 The starting point of the Act lies in Article 15 (2) of the Constitution of India, which obviously says that "State can make exceptional arrangements for ladies and kids" towards understanding the directly to correspondence. 2 This shows the utilization of governmental policy ...

  19. PDF Violence Against Women in India: an Overview

    were registered in India in 2019. Various forms of violence against women take place in India, such as dowry deaths, rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, forced or induced abortion, acid attack, trafficking etc. It is a big cause of female morbidity and mortality. In India where almost half of the population are women, they have always ...


    Common forms of violence against women in India include acts such as domestic abuse, sexual assault, and murder. Crime against women such as rape, acid throwing, dowry killings, honour killings ...

  21. Thesis on Domestic Violence in India

    Thesis on Domestic Violence in India - Free download as PDF File (.pdf), Text File (.txt) or read online for free.

  22. (PDF) Domestic Violence in India

    But in India according to my studies article. 3, 4, 5, 13 and 19 are most commonly violated in India and most of them are violated on daily. basis. Article 3 s ays "Everyone has the righ t to ...