Signs of domestic violence

Last updated on Apr 8, 2022

[Trigger Warning: The following content contains information on domestic violence which some readers may find disturbing.]

Domestic violence can be of many different kinds and in many form, such as verbal, sexual, etc. Given below is an indicative list of signs of domestic violence. You can get protection and go to Court if you, or any child in your custody, have faced any of the following acts1:

Physical Abuse

  • You are being hurt physically, and your health, physical development or well- being is threatened. For example, beating you, slapping you, hitting you, etc.
  • You are being hurt physically, and it is causing danger to your life.
  • Someone makes any gestures that makes you believe that they are going to physically hurt you. For example, if your husband shakes his fist at you while knowing that it will likely make you believe that he is going to punch you.
  • Verbal or physical threats to harm you or your loved ones, in order to:
  • Scare you or alarm you or make you feel annoyed.
  • Make you do something you don’t legally have to do. For example, if your in-laws threaten to hurt you if you don’t quit your job.
  • Prevent you from doing something you are legally entitled to do. For example, if your husband threatens to hurt you if you want to file a complaint against him.

Verbal and Emotional Abuse 

  • You are insulted, humiliated or ridiculed. For example, if your husband calls you abusive names because you did not bear a male child, or because you did not bring dowry.
  • The harasser threatens to commit suicide. For example, if you state that you want to divorce your husband, and he threatens to commit suicide if you do so.
  • Separating you from your child. For example, if you are separated from your newborn child because your in-laws believe you cannot take care of him.2
  • Preventing you from taking a job, or forcing you to leave your job.
  • Preventing you, or any child in your custody, from leaving the house.
  • Preventing you from meeting any person, like family members or friends.
  • Forcing you to get married to someone or preventing you from getting married.
  • Threats to cause physical pain to your loved ones.

Economic/Monetary Abuse

  • You are deprived of any financial assets and resources you are entitled to. For example, if you are a widow in a joint family, and are deprived of the resources belonging to the joint family.
  • Restricting access to resources that you normally use by virtue of the relationship you share with the harasser, such as access to any part of the house that you live in.
  • Dispossess you from your assets, or assets held jointly. For example, if your husband sells off the property that both of you own together.
  • Removing your personal items from the household, such as your clothing, utensils, etc.
  • Not allowing you to use items of general household use, such as preventing you from entering the kitchen.
  • Not giving you enough money to maintain yourself/your children, such as money for food, clothes, medicines, etc.
  • Not letting you take up employment, or disturbing you in carrying out your job.
  • Taking away your salary, or not letting you use your salary.
  • Forcing you to leave the house.
  • Not paying rent, if living in a rented accommodation.

Sexual Abuse 

  • Any unwelcome sexual conduct, such as you are forced to have sexual intercourse.
  • You are forced to perform a sexual act that makes you feel humiliated, abused or violated.
  • You are forced to view pornography or any other obscene material.
  • Your child has been sexually abused.

The Courts may recognize other acts of violence/abuse as domestic violence also, depending on your situation. If you are not sure whether you are facing domestic violence, you should get in touch with the Protection Officer of your district, a lawyer or any NGO or service provider who will be able to help you.

  1. Section 3, The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005; Form IV, The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.[]
  2. Parijat Vinod Kanetkar and Ors. v.  Malika Parijat Kanetkar and Ors.  2017 (2) RCR (Criminal) 792.[]

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