When the word “Domestic abuse” arise one ultimately thinks about the victimized women because, in the context of Nepal, most victims are women. The law of Domestic violence is for both men and women who are a victim of abusive power. United Nations defines domestic violence as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.
Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound someone. In the Nepali context, the Domestic Violence (Offence and Punishment) Act, 2066 states that “Domestic Violence” means any form of physical, mental, sexual, and economic harm perpetrated by a person to a person with whom he/she has a family relationship and this word also includes any acts of reprimand or emotional harm.
The domestic relationship means the relationship that exists between the family members of a home. And the member of a joint family, persons living under the same roof as a member of the family, dependent or the laborer. According to the Domestic violence Act of Nepal, the following members can complain in the event of domestic violence:
- Father, mother, daughter, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, and father-in-law.
- Adopted son and adopted daughter.
- The persons living with the same family as a worker.
What is considered Domestic violence in Nepal?
Physical Harm: An act of causing bodily harm or injury, holding someone captive, inflicting physical torture. In Nepali terms, it is called “Angabhanga”.
Mental harm: An act of threatening the victim through physical torture, instilling fear, criticizing, blaming, forcibly evicting them from their homes, or inflicting other emotional hurt or injury on them.
Sexual harm: An act of sexual misbehavior, humiliation, discouragement, or harm to the self-respect of any person. Any kind of act that hampers safe sexual health.
Economic harm: An act of distressing from using jointly or privately-owned property. Disallowance to employment opportunities, economic resources, or means.
For domestic violence, there must be two people involved who have or have had an intimate relationship. Domestic violence can be in any form such as coercion, assault, punishment, intimidation, or revenge in between the intimate relationship.
The law of Nepal for Domestic Violence Complaint
Most women do not complain the domestic violence case. Mostly because they are afraid of their social status and pride in society. Some people want to file complaints but are unaware of the law related to domestic violence. It is clearly stated that if a person who is aware of an act of domestic violence that has been committed, is being committed, or is likely to be committed, may submit a written or oral complaint in detail, at a Police Station, National Women Commission, or Local body. There is the law Format of the Complaint in Schedule-1 of the Domestic violence (Offence and Punishment) Rules, 2067. It also has framed the Rules about complaining or filing the case and further procedures in Domestic Violence (Offence and Punishment) Rules, 2067.
Do not be afraid to complain: Most of the time a victim is afraid of the abusers living in the same house and could not file a complaint. But victims must not refrain from filing a complaint because there is the law about protection in section 6 of the Domestic Violence (Offence and Punishment) Act, 2066. If the preliminary investigation proves that the victim needs to be given immediate protection s/he can get the protection till the time of the final decision.
Limitation of the Complaint: Domestic Violence (Offence and Punishment) Act, 2066, section (14) states that the complaint should be filed within Ninety days of the commission of the crime.
The Punishments for Domestic Violence in Nepal
- A person who commits domestic violence will have to pay a fine of three thousand rupees up to twenty-five thousand Rupees or Six months of imprisonment or both.
- A person who attempts to commit domestic violence or help the crime or encourage others to commit the crime is liable to half the punishment of the perpetrator.
- If a person already had been punished for the offense of domestic violence in the past, and again repeating the act will get the double punishment upon every repetition of the offense.
- If a person holding a public post commits the offense of domestic violence, he/she will get additional ten percent punishment.
- If a person who disobeys the Court orders of Section 6 (Interim protection order) will be punished with a fine of Two Thousand Rupees up to Fifteen Thousand Rupees or Four months of imprisonment or both.