No Private Matter: Confronting Domestic Violence

Adolescents | Mar, 2014

Domestic violence has a lasting impact on the physical and mental health of victims and their families. Children in abusive households suffer serious consequences on their health, educational and employment outcomes, and are highly susceptible to adopting the same behaviors as adults. Dasra’s report No Private Matter lays out the key challenges and solutions it has identified in the Indian context.

Domestic violence in India is shrouded in a culture of shame and silence. 50-70% of women in India face some form of domestic violence, whereas only 2% of victims approach the police. 57% of boys and 53% of girls aged 15-19 believe that wife-beating is acceptable. 75% of Indian women who have reported domestic violence have attempted suicide. Despite these hopeless statistics, domestic violence is not inevitable and can be confronted through strategies across the prevention-amelioration-reconstruction continuum. Progress has been made with the passing of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA) in 2005, which has encouraged more women to speak up, and a powerful media campaign that has resulted in a five-fold increase in the number of women reporting abuse.

In No Private Matter, Dasra identifies areas that need critical attention from all stakeholders to address domestic violence in India. The first is to strengthen the implementation of the PWDVA by improving cooperation between stakeholders, increasing budgetary outlays, raising awareness, and building capacity of implementing agencies. Another key recommendation is to emphasize prevention and early intervention, and change attitudes and social norms that condone violence, especially among men and boys. Finally more knowledge and evidence on patterns and risk factors for domestic violence, and evidence-based strategies for upscale and adoption by government needs to be funded.

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