What is Domestic Violence under Law?

Under Section 3 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005, domestic violence can be defined as any harm, physical or mental torture which endangers the life and health of an individual. It is against the law to abuse another person physically, emotionally or verbally.

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Against whom can you file a complaint?

Charges can be filed against an abusive spouse. Ill-treatment from a spouse at your home is a criminal offense. You can file a case of domestic violence against them. No one at your matrimonial home has the right to abuse you, which includes your spouse, in-laws and other members of your spouse’s family. It is a popular assumption that married persons can only be liable to domestic violence which is completely untrue. It is not necessary that you need to be married for filing a domestic violence lawsuit. A boyfriend, girlfriend or partner in a live-in relationship can also file a domestic violence case.

Domestic Violence Case filing procedure

Domestic violence cases are put up in the local court, which means, your residence, or the place of incident or residence of the accused falls under the jurisdiction of that court. The procedure is listed below:

  1. The magistrate must call out for the first hearing within 3 days of receiving the complaint filed.
  1. The magistrate will issue a notice to the local police officer-in-charge. This notice consists of the hearing date. It must be sent to the accused.
  1. The case has to be disposed within 2 months from the first date of hearing.
  1. If you are unable to visit the court, you can request the magistrate to conduct hearings via video conference. This option is only valid if you are physically unable to attend courtroom hearings.
  1. On reaching the conclusion of the case, if the court feels that domestic violence had actually taken place and the accused is guilty, then the court can pass the following orders. This is only valid if your domestic violence case is genuine. The orders passed by the court contains
  • Protection orders
  • Monetary relief
  • Residence orders
  • Compensation orders
  • Custody of the child

If the court fails to pass orders in your favor then you can also make an appeal within a month from the date of order passed by the local court. This appeal will be filed by your lawyer against the orders of the court. You can also opt for a different procedure which is through an NGO. There are NGO’s who take up these cases and do the legal proceedings. Here you are not directly involved in legal terms as NGO’s do the work on your behalf. If criminal charges are being filed against you for domestic violence, abuse, assault or battery, a criminal defense lawyer such as the Denver Colorado criminal defense lawyers at Colorado Legal Defense Group can help you with your case.

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