According to a study 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced either physical or sexual intimate partner violence or non- partner sexual violence in their lifetime. Hence to deal with such gross crime DVA was passed in 2005. The features of the act are as follows:
- It is a civil law aimed at providing a fourfold support system to women who have suffered violence at home: residence orders, custody orders, protection orders and monetary relief from a respondent.
- Any person can filed complaint apart from victim itself.
- Magistrate can bar the accused to communicate with aggrieved person by personal, oral, written, electronic or telephonic contact.
- Speedy trial of case. Court has to start proceedings and have the first hearing within 3 days of the complaint being filed in the court and every case must be disposed off within a period of 60 days of the first hearing.
- The act make provisions for state to provide for protection officers and status of ‘service providers’ and ‘medical facility’.
- Allow magistrate to hold proceedings in camera.
Even after 13 years the efficacy of DVA is questionable. Law in it letter is highly placed but its enforcement is a big concern. Aggrieved person do not come up to lower courts as still there is social stigma. Lack of awareness within the law enforcement agencies and lower judiciary is another reason. Even a look at the orders suggest that most orders don not specifically mention the category of sexual abuse even when alleged.