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This article is written by Sarthak Sikarwar of 4th Semester of BALLB (Hons.) of University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, an intern under Legal Vidhiya


The intricate and widespread problem of domestic violence still hurts the rich diversity of Indian society. This study aims to disentangle the complex web of factors that lead to domestic violence in India, a country rich in historical customs and cultural variety. The study attempts to provide a comprehensive understanding of the factors sustaining this social malaise by examining aspects of culture, economy, and psychology. Effective preventative and intervention techniques require an understanding of the subtleties of these underlying causes.

It is impossible to separate the issue of domestic abuse in India from the deeply ingrained customs and cultural norms that influence public expectations. Cultural variables, which are frequently firmly rooted and transmitted over generations, are crucial in the continuation of violence in households. Because gender roles are well established in Indian society, which is patriarchal in character, power relations are unbalanced, and male domination is acceptable. Women are typically expected to be subservient and obedient due to traditional conventions, which leaves them open to abuse even in the privacy of their own homes.

The taboo about divorce and the pressure from society to maintain traditional family structures also play a part in the quiet regarding domestic abuse. Victims suffer abuse in silence because they frequently fear being judged and shunned, which feeds the cycle of violence. Therefore, cultural influences both encourage aggression and prevent people from getting treatment, so it’s critical to analyze and question these deeply rooted conventions.

An important additional component to the conversation about domestic violence in India is economic issues. The socioeconomic environment of the nation is characterized by glaring differences, and one of the main causes of domestic violence is financial instability. Women are frequently economically dependent on their partners due to unequal economic possibilities and the persistence of gender wage inequalities. When one spouse has more financial means than the other, the other partner may be forced into an abusive relationship from which they are unable to leave because of those financial limitations.

Furthermore, the relationship between economic variables and domestic violence goes beyond simple reliance on money. Economic hardships, unemployment, and poverty all lead to increased stress and tensions in households, which frequently turn violent.

An additional layer to the complex web of domestic violence in India is added by psychological issues. Untreated mental health conditions like anxiety and despair might make people more aggressive in relationships. Substance misuse exacerbates psychological issues and encourages dangerous, impulsive conduct. Furthermore, relationships’ power dynamics, which are impacted by psychological variables, foster an atmosphere in which dominance and control are used as instruments of abuse.

Given these complex factors, extensive and nuanced interventions are needed to reduce domestic violence. Education initiatives that question gender stereotypes and advance equality are essential to destroying the cultural underpinnings of violence. Initiatives for economic empowerment, such as access to job possibilities and skill-building courses, give women a way out of financial dependency.


Domestic violence, cultural aspects, economic factors, psychological influences, gender roles, patriarchy, traditional family structures, divorce taboo, societal pressure, financial instability, gender wage inequalities, economic dependence, socioeconomic environment, unemployment, poverty, mental health conditions, power dynamics, gender stereotypes, equality.


India, a country renowned for its vast cultural diversity, is struggling with a serious and pervasive problem: domestic abuse. The purpose of this study is to shed light on the several factors that lead to the high rate of domestic violence in the nation. Domestic abuse impacts people from a variety of backgrounds and crosses socioeconomic divides. Due to the intricacy of the problem, a thorough grasp of the psychological, cultural, and economic forces behind it is necessary.

Domestic violence refers to any form of harassment, whether physical or psychological, inflicted by another individual on a person. In general, it occurs in the majority of Indian situations involving women and children. Women who experience violence may feel unsafe and uneasy both inside and outside of their homes. The act of violence against women hinders their ability to grow both mentally and physically. Gender inequality is a major contributing factor to violence against women, as they experience prejudice from both men and women both within and outside of their homes. In our society, there is a belief that men are stronger than women and that women are inferior. There are countless instances of violence, such as acid attacks, rapes, dowry deaths, etc. Given the high number of domestic violence cases in India, the government works to reduce the number of incidents involving women and children. Domestic abuse is included by Section 498 of the Indian Penal Code as per the Criminal Law Second Amendment Act.

Domestic violence is the term used to describe abuse that takes place in the house against a spouse, partner, or other family member and can be physical, sexual, or psychological. 35 percent of women globally have suffered intimate relationship abuse—either physical or sexual—or non-partner sexual violence, according to a 2013 global analysis of the data that was available. Gender-based violence is another term for domestic abuse.

The Indian legislature is authorized by Article 15 of the constitution to create specific laws for women and children. The Protection Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), which was passed in 2005, was an exercise of this authority.

Domestic violence has been documented in almost every nation and civilization throughout recorded history. In any patriarchal society, discrimination and oppression that results in physical, psychological, or emotional violence are viewed as normal. With the exception of the recent mention, domestic abuse has been accepted by society and the law. A number of significant incidents, laws, and ordinances offer historical background that makes it very easy to conceptualize domestic violence.

Male dominance and the projection of women as “property,” or objects that belong to men, along with expectations of women as the ideal “role model,” work together to seal the status of women. This makes women vulnerable to discrimination, oppression, and various forms of victimization, which ultimately forces them into subordination.


  • What is domestic violence? What are the factors that lead to it?
  • How do cultural norms and traditional gender roles contribute to the perpetuation of domestic violence in Indian households?
  • How do economic instability, financial dependence, and unequal economic opportunities contribute to the occurrence of domestic violence in India?
  • To what extent does the presence of mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, contribute to the likelihood of domestic violence?
  • To find any laws or legal precedents relating to domestic violence.


Meaning of Violence

Any physical or mental force, as well as any harm or damage to people or property, are all considered forms of violence.

The definition of violence according to the Oxford Dictionary is “behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.”

The World Health Organization describes violence as “the intentional utilization of force or authority, whether genuine or threatened, towards themselves, someone else, or an entire group or society as a whole which either leads to or has a significant chance of inflicting damage, harm, mental anguish, or loss.[1]

Meaning of Domestic Violence

“Domestic violence against women” refers to any behavior by an individual who possesses the power to cause mental, physical, social, or emotional harm to women. Usually, strangers don’t engage in such behaviour. injury or deprivation.

Domestic violence is the phrase used to describe a methodical approach to instill fear and subservience in an individual in a domestic situation, such as a household. In India, it often refers to abuse that a person experiences at the hands of their biological relations; however, it also includes abuse that women experience at the hands of male family members.

In the United Nations Declaration on the Prevention and Treatment of Violence Against Women, domestic violence was defined as “bodily, sexual, and emotional assault that takes place within the family, including beating, sexual misconduct of female children in the home, dowry associated violence, rape in marriage, female genital mutilation and other customary behaviors detrimental to women, non-spousal harm and abuse related to exploiting”.

Domestic violence is defined as “any act, omission or commission or conduct of the respondent that harms or injures or endangers the health, safety, life, limb or well-being, whether mental or physical, of the aggrieved person or tends to do to” (Section 3 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005). This includes anything causing physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, and economic abuse. In addition, any act that targets, threatens, damages, or harasses the victim to force her or any family member to comply with an illegal demand for a dowry or other valued security.[2]

Types of Domestic Violence

  1. Physical abuse: The most obvious type of domestic violence against women is physical assault. The Domestic Violence Act defines it as any act that endangers the victim’s life, limb, health, or development or results in physical suffering. Harm, use of illegal force, and criminal intimidation are examples of assault with force.
  2. Sexual abuse: Coercion related to sexuality and reproduction is what constitutes sexual abuse of women. Marital rape should typically be considered a kind of sexual abuse. Marital rape is not prohibited, nevertheless, unless the victim is a woman under the age of 15. Sexual abuse is defined as any abuse of a sexual character that “abuses, humiliates, degrades, or otherwise violates the dignity of a woman,” as per the Domestic Violence Act.
  3. Emotional and verbal abuse: Verbal abuse comprises comments or threats made by family members when a woman is the victim of domestic abuse. From the standpoint of human rights, verbal abuse is a very widespread kind of domestic violence that subsequently escalates to emotional abuse. When emotional and verbal abuse are combined, it can result in psychological abuse and damage a woman’s self-esteem.
  4. Economic abuse: The government’s inclusion of economic abuse in the list of abuses covered by the Domestic Violence Act is a noteworthy move. Economic abuse is commonly defined as a technique used to deny the victim and her children access to money resources or assets, either directly or indirectly.
  5. Psychological abuse:  Defined as behavior that is meant to intimidate and persecute; examples of this behavior include verbal aggression, constant humiliation, object destruction, confinement to the home, surveillance, threats to take away custody of the children, and threats of abandonment or abuse.
  6. deprivation is the denial of any and all financial or economic resources to which the harmed party is legally entitled.
  7. disposing: Giving up ownership of any shares, bonds, or other assets that the harmed party has a stake in. The aggrieved person, her children, her Stridhan, or any other property owned jointly or separately by the aggrieved person may seek the interest, which may arise from the domestic relationship.
  8. Prohibition: Restricting or banning someone from using resources or facilities that they are legally entitled to use or enjoy because of their domestic connection. Access to the shared household is part of it.
  9. Individual-based Violence: Research indicates that older women and girls are more susceptible to domestic abuse. There is no denying that women’s status in these households is still extremely unstable. Unmarried girls who were unwelcome in their fathers’ houses may likewise face violence. Violence against unmarried women (girl children) and married women (married women) c) Abuse of Elderly Women.

Causes of Domestic Violence

The violence against women cannot be explained by a single factor. Research on the interrelatedness of numerous aspects that should enhance our comprehension of the issue in diverse cultural contexts has become more prevalent. Women have historically been more vulnerable to violence against them due to several intricately linked institutionalized social and cultural variables[3], all of which are products of historically unequal power relations between men and women. These unequal power relations are caused by several factors, such as socioeconomic forces, the institution of the family, which upholds power relations, beliefs about the inherent superiority of men, fear of and control over female sexuality, and laws and cultural norms that have historically denied women and children an independent legal and social status.

Other reasons –

  • Physical abuse: Physical abuse occurs when one partner in a marital or intimate connection attempts to control and dominate the other. [4]
  • Dowry-Related Harassment: Conflicts over inheritance make up a significant portion of the acceptable reasons for wife-beating or marital abuse. Dowry killings occur when the young woman kills herself because she can no longer stand the abuse and torment.
  • Sati: A long-standing offense against women, sati is still common in some regions of India. It is also referred to as Jauhar Vrata or Sati Pratha.
  • alcohol addiction.
  • discontent over a dowry.
  •  low self-worth to a perpetrator.
  • inability to control one’s fury.
  •  self-protection.
  • Possession of firearms.
  • The conventional wisdom holds that people are influenced by their peers.
  • The abusive person’s dubious character.
  • Economic disparity and gender.
  • Women have a lower status in society because they are seen as “objects” rather than “subjects.”
  • unemployment and poverty.
  • issues with mental health and schooling.
  • Historical and cultural aspects.
  • showing disrespect or inattention.

Factors for Domestic Violence

A. Psychological Factors in Domestic Violence

Understanding the psychological factors contributing to domestic violence is crucial for developing effective prevention and intervention strategies. Domestic violence is not solely a result of physical actions; it often stems from complex psychological dynamics within relationships. By delving into these factors, we can gain insights into the root causes and work towards creating a society that fosters healthier and more respectful connections.[5]

  1. Power and Control: At the core of many domestic violence cases lies the issue of power and control. Perpetrators often seek to dominate and exert authority over their victims, using tactics such as intimidation, coercion, and isolation. This desire for control can be rooted in deep-seated psychological issues, including a need for superiority or a fear of losing dominance within the relationship.
  2. Learned Behavior and Inter-generational Transmission: Psychological factors contributing to domestic violence often have roots in learned behavior. Individuals who have witnessed or experienced violence in their formative years may replicate these patterns in their own relationships. This inter-generational transmission of violence highlights the psychological impact of early exposure, underscoring the need for interventions that break the cycle through education and support.
  3. Low Self-Esteem and Insecurity: Perpetrators of domestic violence may struggle with low self-esteem and profound feelings of insecurity. Abusive behavior can be an attempt to assert dominance and alleviate personal insecurities by controlling another person. Victims, on the other hand, may also grapple with diminished self-esteem, making it challenging for them to break free from abusive relationships.
  4. Mental Health Issues: The presence of mental health issues significantly contributes to the occurrence of domestic violence. Conditions such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorders can amplify feelings of frustration and hopelessness, leading to violent outbursts. Addressing the mental health aspects of both perpetrators and victims is essential for comprehensive intervention.
  5. Substance Abuse: The link between substance abuse and domestic violence is well-established. Drugs and alcohol can lower inhibitions, impair judgment, and contribute to aggressive behavior. Substance abuse may exacerbate existing conflicts within relationships, creating a volatile environment that increases the risk of violence.
  6. Emotional Dependency and Fear: Victims of domestic violence may develop emotional dependency on their abusers, often due to fear or manipulation. The psychological impact of continuous abuse can create a sense of helplessness and dependency, making it difficult for victims to envision life beyond the abusive relationship. Breaking free requires not only physical escape but also addressing the emotional scars left by the abuse.
  7. Lack of Communication Skills: Effective communication is a cornerstone of healthy relationships. Psychological factors contributing to domestic violence often include poor communication skills, where individuals struggle to express their needs, frustrations, or fears constructively. Enhancing communication skills can be a key component in preventing conflicts from escalating into violence.

In summary, the psychological factors contributing to domestic violence are intricate and multifaceted. Recognizing the underlying dynamics is essential for tailoring interventions that address the root causes, providing support for both victims and perpetrators, and fostering a societal shift towards healthier relationship dynamics.[6]

B. Economic Factors in Domestic Violence

Economic factors play a significant role in shaping the dynamics of domestic violence, influencing both the occurrence and perpetuation of abusive behaviors within relationships. Understanding the intricate interplay between economic disparities and domestic violence is essential for developing targeted interventions that address the root causes and empower individuals to break free from cycles of abuse.

  1. Financial Dependence: One of the key economic factors contributing to domestic violence is financial dependence. When one partner has control over the financial resources, the other may find themselves trapped in an abusive relationship due to economic vulnerability. Limited financial independence can limit options for victims, making it difficult for them to escape abusive situations.[7]
  2. Unequal Economic Opportunities: Gender-based economic disparities contribute significantly to the occurrence of domestic violence. Limited access to education and employment opportunities for women can lead to financial dependence on their partners, amplifying power imbalances within relationships. Addressing these inequalities is crucial for breaking the cycle of economic dependence that sustains abusive dynamics.
  3. Unemployment and Economic Stress: Economic instability, unemployment, and financial stress within households are associated with heightened tensions that can escalate into violence. The frustration and pressure resulting from economic challenges may manifest as aggression within relationships, highlighting the need for interventions that address economic stressors and provide support for families facing financial difficulties.
  4. Lack of Economic Independence: Individuals lacking economic independence may feel compelled to stay in abusive relationships due to concerns about their financial well-being. Economic factors contribute to a sense of entrapment, limiting the ability of victims to leave abusive situations. Empowering individuals with economic opportunities and resources is essential for enabling them to break free from cycles of abuse.
  5. Housing Insecurity: Limited access to secure and stable housing can be a factor that contributes to domestic violence. Individuals facing housing insecurity may be more vulnerable to abusive situations, as the fear of homelessness can act as a barrier to leaving an abusive partner. Addressing housing issues is integral to creating environments where individuals can escape violence without the additional burden of housing instability.
  6. Impact on Employment: Domestic violence can have significant implications for employment, affecting victims’ ability to maintain stable work situations. Absenteeism, decreased productivity, and mental health issues resulting from domestic violence can impact employment opportunities, exacerbating economic challenges for victims.
  7. Control and Economic Abuse: Perpetrators of domestic violence often use economic control as a tactic to maintain power and control over their victims. This form of abuse involves restricting access to financial resources, employment, or education, further isolating victims and limiting their ability to escape abusive relationships.
  8.  Legal and Financial Barriers: Legal and financial barriers can impede victims’ ability to seek justice and protection from abusive partners. Limited access to legal resources, financial support, and awareness of available services can hinder the process of leaving an abusive relationship and seeking legal recourse.

In conclusion, economic factors are deeply intertwined with the dynamics of domestic violence in India. Addressing these factors requires a multifaceted approach that includes empowering individuals economically, promoting equal opportunities, and creating support structures that enable victims to break free from economic dependence within abusive relationships.[8]

C. Psychological Factors in Economic Decision-Making[9]

Economic decision-making is a multifaceted process influenced by various psychological factors that shape individuals’ choices, preferences, and attitudes toward financial matters. Understanding these psychological aspects is crucial for policymakers, financial institutions, and individuals seeking to make informed decisions in a complex economic landscape.

  1. Cognitive Biases: Psychological factors, such as cognitive biases, play a significant role in economic decision-making. Individuals may exhibit biases such as loss aversion, where the fear of losing money outweighs the potential for gains, or confirmation bias, where they seek information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs. Recognizing and mitigating these biases can lead to more rational economic decision-making.
  2. Risk Perception and Tolerance: Perceptions of risk and individual risk tolerance heavily influence economic decisions. Some individuals may be risk-averse, preferring safer but lower-yield options, while others may have a higher tolerance for risk, pursuing potentially higher returns. Understanding one’s risk profile is essential for making investment, savings, and financial planning decisions.
  3.  Behavioural Economics: Behavioural economics explores the psychological factors that influence economic choices. Concepts such as bounded rationality and heuristics, where individuals rely on mental shortcuts to make decisions, provide insights into how people navigate economic situations. Incorporating behavioural insights into economic policies can lead to more effective decision-making frameworks.
  4. Emotional Influences: Emotions play a significant role in economic decision-making. Fear, greed, and excitement can impact choices related to investments, spending, and saving. Emotional intelligence, or the ability to recognize and manage emotions, is essential for making sound economic decisions that align with long-term financial goals.
  5. Social and Cultural Influences: Social and cultural factors shape economic decision-making through norms, values, and societal expectations. Individuals may make economic choices based on the influence of their social circles or cultural beliefs about money, savings, and spending. Recognizing these influences is crucial for developing economic policies that resonate with diverse populations.
  6. Mental Accounting: The concept of mental accounting involves categorizing money into different mental “accounts” based on its source or purpose. Understanding how individuals mentally allocate funds, such as separating money for necessities from discretionary spending, provides insights into budgeting and financial planning behaviors.
  7. Present Bias and Delay Discounting: Present bias refers to the tendency to prioritize immediate rewards over future gains, leading to impulsive decision-making. Delay discounting involves devaluing future rewards in favor of immediate gratification. Both factors can influence choices related to savings, investments, and long-term financial planning.
  8. Behavioural Change and Interventions: Interventions informed by behavioural insights can facilitate positive economic decision-making. Nudging, or subtly guiding individuals toward beneficial choices, has shown promise in areas such as retirement savings and energy consumption. Understanding the psychological factors that drive behavioural change is essential for designing effective interventions.
  9. Financial Literacy and Education: Enhancing financial literacy is crucial for improving economic decision-making. Educating individuals about basic financial concepts, budgeting, and investment strategies empowers them to make informed choices. Financial education programs can contribute to building a more economically savvy society.
  10.  Individual Differences: Recognizing the diversity of individual differences in psychological traits, including risk preferences, time preferences, and decision-making styles, is essential. Tailoring economic policies and financial products to accommodate these differences ensures inclusivity and effectiveness.

In conclusion, psychological factors play a central role in economic decision-making. Understanding cognitive biases, risk perceptions, emotional influences, and cultural nuances provides a foundation for developing policies and interventions that align with the intricacies of human behavior in economic contexts.

Laws Against Domestic Violence

  • The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005 is one of the laws and statutes that defends women’s rights against the heinous acts of domestic violence. This act, which is a component of the social unit, can be described as civil law since it shields women from the cruel behaviors of men in the household. This act provides protection to women who are living in live-in relationships in addition to married women. The act also gives women protection from domestic abuse and the ability to claim maintenance from their husbands if they are living apart. On October 26, 2006, the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Indian government implemented it. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 governs domestic violence in India. Section 3 of the Act defines domestic violence as any act, commission, omission, or conduct that causes harm or endangers the health or safety of an individual, whether mentally or physically. In addition, it covers any harm, harassment, or injury done to a person or to anybody connected to them in order to comply with any illegal demand that would also qualify as domestic abuse.
  • The Act of 1961 Prohibiting Dowries – The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 is a criminal statute that forbids both giving and receiving dowries. According to this act, the punishment for requesting or giving dowry illegally is up to six months in jail, a fine of Rs. 5,000, or both.
  • The IPC 1860, Section 498 A

This is an additional safeguard in place to protect women who are victims of domestic abuse. The IPC’s Sec. 498A acts as a shield for women, shielding them from abuse by their husbands or any of their relatives.

However, there is a lot of misuse of this clause in India. Because of the concerning circumstances being created by the misuse of this clause, the judicial authorities must act quickly and effectively to put an end to it.


India has a long history of domestic violence, with a wide range of sociocultural factors contributing to the issue. In India, historical, religious, cultural, and sociological elements all contribute to domestic violence. Important elements of the solution include enhanced awareness, reporting procedures, and legal frameworks.

Furthermore, acknowledging the various forms of abuse, such as verbal and emotional abuse, and implementing a gender-neutral strategy are essential measures in building a community free from the evil of domestic violence. It is imperative that individuals, communities and policymakers work collaboratively to address the root causes and provide support for victims, fostering a society built on equality, respect, and empathy.

The majority of domestic abuse incidents between 2001 and 2018 were classified as cruelty by the husband or his family.

Despite several laws prohibiting it, there is a sharp rise in the number of domestic abuse cases in India. A recent survey indicates that 70% of Indian women have experienced domestic violence. India also has laws specifically designed to protect women from domestic abuse, such as Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, and the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.


  1. https://www.legallore.info/post/causes-of-domestic-violence-in-india
  2. https://ledroitindia.in/causes-of-domestic-violence/
  3. https://lawbhoomi.com/causes-of-domestic-violence-in-india/
  4. https://jlrjs.com/causes-of-domestic-violence-in-india/
  5. https://www.myadvo.in/blog/domestic-violence-against-women
  6. https://aishwaryasandeep.in/causes-of-domestic-violence-in-india/
  7. https://ijcrt.org/papers/IJCRT2304620.pdf
  8. https://thelawbrigade.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Sanjeev-Kalpna.pdf
  9. https://www.latestlaws.com/articles/cause-and-cure-of-domestic-violence-in-india-180115#_ftn25

[1] https://www.legallore.info/post/causes-of-domestic-violence-in-india

[2] https://ledroitindia.in/causes-of-domestic-violence/

[3] https://lawbhoomi.com/causes-of-domestic-violence-in-india/

[4] https://jlrjs.com/causes-of-domestic-violence-in-india/

[5] https://www.myadvo.in/blog/domestic-violence-against-women

[6] https://aishwaryasandeep.in/causes-of-domestic-violence-in-india/

[7] https://thelawbrigade.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Sanjeev-Kalpna.pdf

[8] https://ijcrt.org/papers/IJCRT2304620.pdf

[9] https://www.latestlaws.com/articles/cause-and-cure-of-domestic-violence-in-india-180115#_ftn25

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