The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, has failed to make a mark mainly due to lack of commitment from state governments in appointing protection officers and formulating safety plan for women in distress.

According to civil society activists, in the nine years since it came into existence, the Act has not been used as an emergency law.

“Since it came into existence on October 26, 2006, the Act has suffered as almost no state government has made any safety plan or appointed protection officers for women who suffer abuse in their homes,” Monica Saroha, a former women’s court judge who is presently with the Delhi Legal Services Authority, said at a press conference here.

Giving her own experience as a judge, she said there was only one protection officer in Delhi for a total of 10 police stations, which were under her jurisdiction. “It is impossible for them to get involved in each case,” she added.

Gauri Chowdhary, Director of Action India, said apart from lack of protection officers, the other issue was that the officers themselves faced security threats.

“Many of them, when they visited the homes of women abused by their husbands and in-laws, faced violence,” she said.

“We have also found that protection officers are unwilling to directly file the Domestic Incident Reports, on behalf of the aggrieved women, with the magistrates,” Chowdhary said. The activists demanded that October 26 be declared as day against domestic violence.

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