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Domestic Violence in Bangladesh: Legal Protections and Remedies for Victims

Updated: Apr 3, 2023




Domestic violence is a widespread issue in Bangladesh, affecting many individuals and families. The Bangladesh government has recognized the issue and has taken steps to address it. However, despite these efforts, many victims still do not receive the protection and support they need. In this article, we will discuss the legal protections and remedies available to victims of domestic violence in Bangladesh.



Legal Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence in Bangladesh


In Bangladesh, domestic violence is considered a criminal offence, and victims have legal protections available to them. The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, of 2010, was passed to provide legal protections and remedies to victims of domestic violence.


The Act defines domestic violence as any act or omission committed by a person against a woman or a child with whom the person has a domestic relationship. It includes physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, and economic abuse. The Act also recognizes that domestic violence can occur between persons of the same sex.


The Act establishes a Domestic Violence Prevention Tribunal (DVPT) in each district to hear cases of domestic violence. The DVPT has the power to issue protection orders, restraining orders, and monetary compensation to victims. The Act also imposes criminal penalties for violations of protection orders.


The Act recognizes the role of the police in preventing and responding to domestic violence. The police have the power to intervene and prevent acts of domestic violence, as well as to arrest perpetrators. The Act also provides for the establishment of one-stop crisis centres, which provide medical, legal, and psychological support to victims of domestic violence.


In addition to the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, other laws and policies provide legal protections to victims of domestic violence. The Penal Code of Bangladesh criminalizes various forms of violence against women, including rape, sexual harassment, and dowry-related violence. The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, allows victims of domestic violence to file complaints with the police and seek legal remedies through the courts. The National Women Development Policy, 2011, provides a framework for promoting gender equality and protecting women's rights in Bangladesh.



Remedies Available to Victims of Domestic Violence in Bangladesh


Victims of domestic violence in Bangladesh have several legal remedies available to them. These remedies include protection orders, restraining orders, and compensation.


Protection orders are court orders that prohibit the perpetrator from committing further acts of domestic violence against the victim. The court may also order the perpetrator to vacate the shared residence or to stay away from the victim's workplace or school. Violation of a protection order is a criminal offence and can result in arrest and prosecution.


Restraining orders are similar to protection orders but are issued by the police rather than the court. A restraining order prohibits the perpetrator from coming near the victim or contacting the victim in any way. Violation of a restraining order is also a criminal offence.


Compensation is available to victims of domestic violence for any harm suffered as a result of the violence. The DVPT has the power to order the perpetrator to pay monetary compensation to the victim. The compensation may include the cost of medical treatment, lost income, and other expenses incurred as a result of the violence.



Scenarios and Examples


Scenario 1: Fatima, a 27-year-old woman, has been married to her husband for three years. Her husband frequently physically and verbally abuses her. Fatima is afraid to leave him because she has nowhere else to go.


In this scenario, Fatima can seek legal remedies under the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act. She can file a complaint with the police and seek a protection order from the DVPT. The protection order can prohibit her husband from committing further acts of domestic violence and can order him to vacate the shared residence. Fatima can also seek compensation for any harm suffered as a result of the violence.


Scenario 2: Sumaiya, a 16-year-old girl, is frequently sexually abused by her uncle, who lives in the same house as her. She has told her parents, but they refuse to take any action.


In this scenario, Sumaiya can file a complaint with the police under the Penal Code of Bangladesh. The Penal Code criminalizes various forms of violence against women, including rape and sexual harassment. Sumaiya's uncle can be arrested and prosecuted for sexual abuse. Additionally, Sumaiya can seek a protection order or restraining order from the DVPT to prevent her uncle from continuing to abuse her.


Scenario 3: Saima, a 35-year-old woman, is a victim of dowry-related violence. Her husband and in-laws frequently demand money and gifts from her family. They have physically and emotionally abused her when her family has been unable to meet their demands.


In this scenario, Saima can seek legal remedies under the Penal Code of Bangladesh, which criminalizes dowry-related violence. She can file a complaint with the police and seek legal action against her husband and in-laws. Saima can also seek a protection order from the DVPT to prevent further acts of violence against her.



Conclusion


Domestic violence is a serious issue in Bangladesh that affects many individuals and families. The government of Bangladesh has recognized the issue and has taken steps to address it, including passing the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, establishing one-stop crisis centres, and criminalizing various forms of violence against women. Victims of domestic violence in Bangladesh have legal protections and remedies available to them, including protection orders, restraining orders, and compensation. However, much work remains to be done to ensure that victims of domestic violence receive the support and protection they need.

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Mar 19, 2023
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