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An overview of criminology in relation with domestic violence

Violence against Women is a major threat in India. Unfortunately, despite remarkable achievements in the field of women’s development and bearing a noble history of women’s movement, incidences of violence against women are still burning issues. It is not easy to guess whether violence against women has decreased or increased over the past decades, but in absolute term, the number of incidences is on the increase.

The majority of women are domestically violated by their husbands, in-laws and other family members. From the study, we have tried to make a sense about the types, reasons, and domestic violence against women in India, collecting data and analysis from different sources.

Domestic violence affects the lives of many women both in the urban and the rural areas. This study aims to find out the impact of violence in our society and be united it with our social norms and values.

What is crime?

The term Crime is derived from Latin word ‘krimos’ which means to accuse.

According to Blackstone Crime is an act committed or omitted in violation of Public Law forbidding or commanding it.

The term Criminology is derived by 2 words which is-Latin word-crimen-Greek word-logia

Criminology is the scientific study of crime, including its causes, responses by law enforcement, and methods of prevention. It is a sub-group of sociology, which is the scientific study of social behavior.

Psychological aspects and Environmental aspects of Criminology

Psychologists have studied many aspects of crime and criminality ever since modern psychology began to emerge in the late 19th century. The founding fathers of psychology taught courses on criminal psychology and considered delinquency at the time they were laying their foundations. Just about every psychological theory has been applied to the consideration of crime or its prosecution, from Freudian psychodynamics to neuropsychology, by way of learning theories and studies of memory. These theories have covered the causes of crime, psychological aspects of criminal investigations, assessment of criminals, court psychology, interventions to reduce offending and help offenders cope with prison, and victimology and the nature of criminal activity, emphasizing behavioral variations between offenses that have the same legal definition. In the last forty years the study of psychological aspects of crime and criminals has also become part of the professional discipline of forensic psychology. [1]Thus, any review of psychology and crime now overlaps with considerations of the professional roles of psychologists in a variety of legal, investigative, correctional, and therapeutic settings. The influence of the legal context and culture as well as the local institutional frameworks, therefore, always needs to be kept in mind when considering publications on psychology and crime.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is not physical violence alone. Domestic violence is any behavior the purpose of which is to gain power and control over a spouse, partner, girl/boyfriend or intimate family member. Abuse is a learned behavior; it is not caused by anger, mental problems, drugs or alcohol, or other common excuses.

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 says that any act, conduct, omission or commission that harms or injures or has the potential to harm or injure will be considered domestic violence by the law. Even a single act of omission or commission may constitute domestic violence. The law covers children also. Domestic violence can be done by both men and women. However, most commonly, the victims are women, especially in our country. Even in the United States, it has been reported that 85% of all violent crime experienced by women are cases of intimate partner violence, compared to 3% of violent crimes experienced by men. Thus, domestic violence in Indian context mostly refers to domestic violence against women.

Where does the term domestic violence come from?

The medical literature defines domestic violence in different ways. In this article, domestic violence refers to the victimization of a person with whom the abuser has or has had an intimate, romantic, or spousal relationship. Domestic violence encompasses violence against both men and women and includes violence in gay and lesbian relationships.

Domestic violence consists of a pattern of coercive behaviours used by a competent adult or adolescent to establish and maintain power and control over another competent adult or adolescent. These behaviours, which can occur alone or in combination, sporadically or continually, include physical violence, psychological abuse, stalking, and non-consensual sexual behavior[2]

Violence against Women in India

Violence against women is a common picture in male dominated social system whether it is physical or mental. In India, it is a daily fact of life for millions of women and girls. Women are viewed as a product of sexual enjoyment to the male attitudes. As a result, violence is considered as a normal phenomenon from men’s perspective. Women suffer from domestic violence, rape, dowry death, sexual harassment, suicide, forced marriage, trafficking, psychological trauma, and financial oppression. Here are some sorts of violence against women throughout their Life Cycle as follows:
Pre-birth- Sex-selective abortion; effects of battering during pregnancy on birth outcomes

Infancy- Female infanticide; physical, sexual and psychological abuse

Girlhood- Child marriage; female genital mutilation; physical, sexual and psychological abuse; incest; child prostitution and pornography

Adolescence and adulthood- Dating and courtship violence economically coerced sex; incest; sexual abuse in workplace; rape; sexual harassment; forced prostitution and pornography; women trafficking; partner violence; marital rape[3]; dowry abuse and murder; partner homicide; psychological abuse; abuse of women with disabilities; forced pregnancy.

Elderly- Forced suicide or homicide of widows for economic reasons; sexual, physical and psychological abuse.

Universal declaration of human rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone is entitled to all rights and freedom set forth in declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Types of Violence

Violence against women is heinous crime in many countries of the world. Such violence is a human rights’ violation, which may be typed in a number of ways:
Custodial violence -The imbalance of power is a result of prisoners’ dependence on correctional officers’ and guards’ ability is manifest in physical force and abuse. Because incarcerated women are not visible to the public eye, little is done when the punishment of imprisonment is compounded with rape, sexual assault, and shackling during child-birth. There is a psychological care available to inmates. Though crimes in prison such as rape are prevalent, few perpetrators of violence inmates are held accountable.

Acid burning and dowry death -Women’s control widespread in political, civil, social, cultural, and economic spheres in many countries of the world. A woman along with her in-laws becomes a victim of a violent form of revenge: acid burning. Acid is thrown in her face or on her body and can blind her in addition to fatal third-degree burns. Brides are unable to pay the high price to marry, who are punished by violence and often death at the hands of their in-laws or their husbands.

Honor killing- Women are looked upon as representatives of the honor of the family. When women are suspected of extra-marital sexual relations, they can be subjected to the cruel form of indignity and violence by their fathers or brothers. Women, who are raped, are accused of crime of unlawful sexual relations. Such laws serve as an obstacle inhibiting women from pursuing cases against those who rape them.

Reasons of Violence

The social and economic status of women can be a dire result of violence. Gender violence represents an expression of human behaviors and it is rooted in society. Traditional attitudes by which women are regarded as subordinate to men involving violence, such as family violence and abuse, forced marriage, dowry death, acid attack and female circumcision. Such prejudices may justify gender-based violence as a form of protection of women. The effect of such violence on physical and mental integrity of women is to deprive them of an equal enjoyment and [4]knowledge of human right and fundamental freedom.

From the discussion above, it is true that the main reasons of domestic violence against women take place due to the lack of proper knowledge and the violation of law. Moreover, the traditional authority has been dominating women for ages.

However, the following recommendations can be suggested as proper steps to ensure fair environment of women’s full-participation in the socio-economic activities in India:
-Greater economic opportunities for women, ensured through access to credit, awareness increasing activities and skill training, would ensure self-esteem and status of women within households; improve spousal relationship to reduce domestic violence.
# Awareness can be brought among community members and family members: VAW is an extreme violation of women’s human rights, which is a criminal offense under law. Also, it has serious psychological consequences for both women and children.
# The primary responsibility to conduct a study of violence against women should rest on the government and the conscious citizen per year.
# The role of state inaction in the perpetuation of violence connected with the gender-specific nature of domestic violence being classified as a human rights concern rather than as a domestic criminal justice concern.
# A gender sensitization module should be incorporated in all training program for police, prosecutors, magistrates, and legal personnel and judiciary.
# The roles of courts in case of domestic violence play a significant role. The courts deal with such cases in a realistic manner to the objects of social legislation, more attitudinal changes on the part of the judges is essential to make gender justice a reality

Domestic violence against is a violation of fundamental human rights. One of the most effective measurements in identifying violence is to assess official compliance with international standards relating to human rights’ abuse. In India, it is a major concern. Although globally women’s rights are human rights, violence against women remains a pervasive issue. Recognizing domestic violence against women as a violation of human rights is a significant turning point in the struggle to end violence all over the globe. To promote human rights and prevent domestic violence, the conscious people must undertake effective steps to ensure gender equality. Government as well as citizens must be more conscious and sensitive to provide access to immediate means of redress to the victims of violence. [5]

As a democratic country like India, the government ought to maintain the policy of zero tolerance in bringing the perpetrators of domestic violence to justice. In fact, to make a good nation, domestic violence against women should be not only lessened but also stopped. Moreover, the conscious community should unite to achieve a world free from violence against woman to ensure a healthy, happy, and decent life for us all.


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