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This article is written by Kritika Raikwar, an intern under Legal Vidhiya

 “Physical aggression by a man towards his partner is abuse even if it happen only once”

-Lundy Bancroft


Around 6,900 domestic abuse complaints were submitted by women to the National Commission of Women (NCW) in 2022, accounting for 23% of all complaints NCW received on various types of crimes against women, according to an article in The Times of India[1]. Domestic violence is defined as any type of sexual, mental, physical, and emotional exploitation[2]. In Indian’s context this also includes economic or financial abuse for example – withdrawing assets from the woman by her husband or any other of her husband’s family member. 85% of the abusers are adult males, which is one of the main reasons why it is seen as a women’s issue. Due to the nature of most households in Indian society, which have a patriarchal structure, domestic violence is almost normalized. The protection of women from domestic violence act (2005) was passed in October 2006, as there was no other law or provision safeguarding women from domestic violence before to the passage of this act, it is one of the most significant pieces of legislation pertaining to the health and welfare of women to have been passed and it came as a big relief to women suffering from abuse of any kind.


  • A protection officer is a person who is appointed by the state to perform the functions and duties listed in the domestic violence act[3] .They are usually your 1st point of contact if you want to register a complaint regarding domestic violence that happened, is happening at the time, or is likely to happen in the future. The protection officers are essentially public servants.
  • In other words, an aggrieved person which is defined in section 2(a) of domestic violence act as any woman who is or has been in a domestic relationship with the respondent, which means a shared household or marriage, alleges to have suffered from domestic violence by hands of her husband or spouse’s family can file a report or register a complaint with the protection officer of her district.
  • It is also mentioned in the statute that it need not be the aggrieved person who files a complaint with the PO.It can be any person who is has a reasonable explanation to believe that abuse or violence is occurring with a women in a domestic setting.
  • The protection officer will work with you to submit a domestic violence report, which is a special report submitted in a specific format by the victim. It contains all the details pertaining to the abuser and the victim.[4]
  • In case of Inder Raj Mailk & Ors. Vs Sunita Mailk[5] , the victim was starved, beaten, abused mentally and physically by her husband and his family members. It can be deduced from the facts of this case that a protection officer helped the victim to file the case, helped her financially, and guided her along with legal proceedings that took place.


  • The state government appoints protection officers in each district. This is because each district has distinct needs, the number of officers may vary per district. The state government may appointment as many officers as it deems necessary[6].
  • It is also explicitly mentioned in the domestic violence act that it is preferred if the protection officers are women which have the abilities , intellect and experience to handle such a position which deals with traumatized and abused women on a daily basis.
  • According to the Press Information Bureau, the Government of India, Ministry of Women and Child Development In 2013, there were a total of 6279 protection officers in India, out of which 6279 were male and 1734 were female[7].


  • The protection officer has a duty to assist the magistrate who is a judicial officer that has the jurisdiction to handle the cases relating to this act. (Protection of women from domestic violence act ,2005)
  • The PO will also help :
    • To ensure that the victim gets provided legal aid under the Legal Services Authorities Act,1987
    • Ensuring that the prescribed form of complaint is available free of cost.
    • In getting the aggrieved person medical care if the need arises.
    • Protection officers also have the responsibility to get the victim medically examined regardless and forward the medical report to the concerned magistrate.
    • To ensure that the monetary relief be given to the aggrieved party and the order of monetary relief by the magistrate be executed fully. Monetary relief includes the expenses that are medically related, the earning loss, and the loss sustained by the aggrieved due to damage to their property.
    • To connect the aggrieved party to shelter homes.
    • The PO will also help the aggrieved party by making them aware of their legal rights, remedies and the type of domestic abuse they went through so they can press charges.
    • They also have the moral duty to support the victim throughout the court proceedings and ensure of their wellbeing.


In simple terms a person who informs the protection officer about domestic violence that has occurred, is occurring, or is likely to occur in the future is known as an informant, albeit the suspicions must be justified, or have a good cause for them to exist.


  • The informant is free from or excluded from any liability whether it be civil or criminal if the information they gave was in good faith.[9]
    • The keyword being ‘good faith’ , this suggests that even if the information the informant gave to the protection officer turns out to be wrong they will not be held liable in a civil or criminal sense .
    • For ex – Person A has suspicions that Person E’s husband is likely to abuse or be violent with person E based of the fight person A saw involving person E and her husband . Based on these suspicions person A informs a PO of their district but it turns out that domestic violence didn’t occur. In this case Person A cannot be held liable in any way as they acted in good faith.
    • In case of Bibi Parwana Khatoon vs State of Bihar (2017)[10], a woman was murdered by her husband and her family members who also set her on fire. Md.Faisal, the deceased victim’s brother upon receiving information telephonically about her sister’s ill fate lodged a complaint at Khajanchi Hat, Madhubani Police Station. From this information we can infer that Md.Faisal played the role of informant.


Every 11 minutes a woman is killed by her intimate partner or family member. According to a research, more than one in ten women and girls aged 15 to 49 worldwide experienced physical or sexual abuse at the hands of an intimate partner[11]. I’m not sure what more to say if these figures aren’t alarming. We need to step up, develop and improve the current mechanism to significantly reduce these concerning numbers. This is where the Domestic Violence Act becomes very important.

 The domestic violence act is an extremely important piece of legislation meant for protection and being secular in nature allows women from every religious group to be protected against crimes committed against them The content of this articles talks about the role of protection officers and the informants in this act .The protection officers are the link between the judicial officers and the aggrieved party, most of the time. They are appointed to help the victim on many levels such as emotional, financial, legal and moral. They are an extremely important part of the structure provided by the domestic violence act to curb the violence against women in domestic settings. This article also covers the function of informants and their responsibility, which clarifies their roles and encourages individuals to provide information to a protection officer without worrying about being held accountable for doing so as long as they do so in good faith. The effective implementation of his act lies mainly in the hands of the Protection officers, the magistrate and the informants.

[1]  A.Pandit, Over 6,900 domestic violence plaints filed by women in 2022, The Times of India. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/over-6900-domestic-violence-plaints-filed-by-women-in-2022/articleshow/96839600.cms ,Last seen on 4/4/2023

[2]  S.3(a),The protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act,2005

[3]  S.2(n), The protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act,2005

[4]   S.2(e), The protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act,2005

[5]  Inder Raj Mailk & Ors. Vs Sunita Mailk, 1986 CriLJ 1510

[6]  S.8(1), The protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act,2005

[7]  Ministry of Women and Child Development, Protection Officers under PWDVA, 2005,available at  https://pib.gov.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=92846 , Last Seen on 4/4/2023

[8]  S.9, The protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act,2005

[9]   S.4(2), The protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act,2005

[10]  Bibi Parwana Khatoon & Anr. Vs State of Bihar, (2017) 6 SCC 792

[11] A.Pandit, Every 11 minutes, a woman killed by intimate partner or family member: UN secretary general, Available at : https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/every-11-minutes-a-woman-killed-by-intimate-partner-or-family-member-un-secretary-general/articleshow/95668352.cms  , Last seen on 15/04/2023


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