Under the ambit of the act physical mental and

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definition of violence. Under the ambit of the Act, physical, mental and economic abuses are recognised as forms of violence against women. Moreover, it identifies violence against women in the shared household as ‘domestic violence’ and at the same time, provides women the right to reside in the shared household and protects women in non- matrimonial relationships. Studies have shown that women do not come forward to report incidents of domestic violence. The social stigma attached to the victim of violence, the long and tedious process of criminal justice administration and lack of support structure for the victim of domestic violence are some of the reasons that contribute to this system of acceptance of violence as a norm. The Act understands these problems and realities and offers a simple procedure for the woman to access justice. It also provides women with social support structures like shelter homes, medical facilities, legal support and a coordinating agency in the nature of protection officers. A multi-agency response system is therefore envisaged by the PWDVA. However, there are proverbial slips between the cup and the lip. Though the provisions of the enactment are progressive and commendable, the effective implementation of it still remains unseen. The biggest hurdle in the way is the measly budgetary allocation for the implementation of the Act. Where the financial estimate for effective implementation lies at 1,158 crores, only 946 lakh has been sanctioned. Due to the lack of funds, the infrastructure cannot be developed. Furthermore, many States have not taken any initiative in appointing Protection Officers, an office that largely remains vacant. Sensitization has to take place across various platforms, including the medical staff who is often the first port of call for the victim. of 1. Foreword Handbook for Parliamentarians 5
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Physical abuse is visible in most cases, however mental abuse is the invisible damage causing entity. Psychologists and psychiatrists should be involved to form the first line of protection for those facing domestic violence. A close relation should be maintained between those tending to the physical health of the victims, and those looking after the mental health. Training should also be provided to all the key stakeholders. All state agencies and stakeholders should come together for the successful implementation of the Act. On behalf of Oxfam India and CLRA, we are pleased to present this handbook on the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence 2005 to the parliamentarians and other policy makers with detailed information on the Act with the hope that you take the lead to resolve impediments in the effective implementation of the Act for protection of women from violence and ensure their right to safety.
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