If you are a victim of domestic violence, you might be afraid or choose not to speak up and/ or report. You may fear that reporting may add to the situation or even cause harm to your children.

Here are ways you can seek support:

  1. NGOs in and around your area can provide support such as shelter or counselling. If you choose to report, the NGO can also guide you through the legal options available. Here is a list of NGOs you can seek help from.
  2. Report the incident(s) of domestic violence to the police station or on the National Commission of Women website. If you cannot go to the police station, dial 100 or the NCW helpline (011 2694 4805). During the lockdown imposed by the Government of India, NCW has also notified a Whatsapp number (+91 7217735372)  to report.
  3. Approach the Protection Officer in your area who will guide you through the legal process, and help you access medical help and shelter.

Domestic Violence Helplines

  • Police – 100
  • Women’s Helpline number: 181 or 1091
  • Domestic violence helpline by the National Commission For Women – +91 7217735372
  • Single emergency helpline number for immediate assistance to services such as the police and women’s helpline – 112
  • The emergency number for transgender and men who have sex with men (MSM) community – 1800-2000-113

 What are the laws available for victims of domestic violence?

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 is the relevant legislation in India which addresses domestic violence specifically. Further section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, which addresses cruelty, governs incidents of domestic violence.

A domestic violence complaint is normally filed against “family” i.e. people the victim has a domestic relationship with. The victim can be related to her abuser(s) by blood (like parents or siblings), by marriage (like husband, in-laws), or her partner (live-in relationship), or by living together i.e. with the extended family. The abuser(s) can be either male or female.

What is the procedure for filing a domestic violence complaint?

The victim or anyone on behalf of the victim can file the complaint. A victim of domestic violence can approach either of the options listed below for filing the complaint.

  1. Police Station – The police will register a First Information Report (FIR) or Domestic Incident Report (DIR) or will direct the victim to a Protection Officer in charge in the area.
  2. Protection Officer – A Protection Officer is the first point of contact for domestic violence cases in a district. A Protection Officer will help the victim file a DIR and file a case in court.
  3. National Commission for Women (NCW) – NCW is empowered to investigate complaints related to domestic violence, dowry harassment or sexual assault. NCW will help monitor and expedite investigations led by local police, provide the option of counselling/ mediation, where the dispute can be resolved without having to go to court, and constitute an Inquiry Committee which makes spot enquiries, examines witnesses, collects evidence and submits a report to NCW with recommendations regarding the complaint. The NCW also has an online portal where a victim can file a domestic violence complaint.

Court Procedure

An application will be required to be filed by the victim, with the assistance of a lawyer before the Magistrate, in which the victim will have to state the type of reliefs she seeks from the court. It may include protection orders, residence orders, directions for monetary relief, a grant of compensation or damages and interim orders. A victim may engage a lawyer,  seek help from her Protection Officer, or ask an NGO to help her secure legal aid.

The police officer, Protection Officer, service provider or  Magistrate who has received this complaint shall inform the victim about all the reliefs she can avail and her rights under the law.

At the time of filing the complaint, the victim will need to disclose any previous or pending cases that may have been filed between the parties under the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, Hindu Marriage Act, and Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act. The victim will further be required to disclose if any application for maintenance has been filed and if any interim maintenance has been awarded to the victim thereunder.

The Magistrate shall fix the first date of hearing, within three days from the date of receipt of the application by the court.

A victim is entitled to a protection order from the abuser, a custody order (of her children), monetary relief, her right to secure housing, and access to medical facilities. The victim can seek immediate protection from the abuser(s) and the court can make such orders at the preliminary stage of hearing. The Magistrate will grant protection for a temporary but fixed duration until it feels that the order is not required due to change in circumstances. The Magistrate may depend on the situation, pass orders for shelter, residence, interim custody and monetary relief. It may also pass restraining orders to protect the victim from the abuser(s).

As per the Act, all complaints are to be heard and disposed of in 60 days. If any party is aggrieved by the order passed by the Magistrate, then it can file an appeal against the said order.

Written by Adv Rohit Yadav

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This field is required.

This field is required.


The following disclaimer governs the use of this website (“Website”) and the services provided by the Law offices of Kr. Vivek Tanwar Advocate & Associates in accordance with the laws of India. By accessing or using this Website, you acknowledge and agree to the terms and conditions stated in this disclaimer.

The information provided on this Website is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice or relied upon as such. The content of this Website is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between you and the Law Firm. Any reliance on the information provided on this Website is done at your own risk.

The Law Firm makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or suitability of the information contained on this Website.

The Law Firm disclaims all liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this Website or for any actions taken in reliance on the information provided herein. The information contained in this website, should not be construed as an act of solicitation of work or advertisement in any manner.