Among the most significant features of the draft law on prevention of domestic
violence is the provision for an interim protection order that can be instituted
even before the formal court proceedings have begun in the case.
Article 8 of the law says: "The court may make an interim protection order,
whether or not a copy of the complaint for the intervention order has been
served on the defendant, if the court is satisfied that it is necessary to
ensure the safety of the victim or other persons or to preserve the property of
the victim pending hearing of the complaint...the order may impose restrictions
or prohibitions on the defendant."
Articles 9 and 10 give the police the right and responsibility to act on the
reports of domestic violence, even if a formal complaint has not been lodged by
the victim. The police may, without any warrant, enter and search the premises
if they believe that domestic violence has taken place or is threatened or the
defendant has breached the protection order.
Economic dependence remains
a major factor that prevents the victims of domestic violence to approach the
police or the court for help. Instead, they suffer in silence over long periods.
To redress this issue, the draft law has provided for emergency monetary
Article 2 defines monetary relief as "compensation for monetary loss suffered
by a victim at the time of the issue of a protection order as a result of
domestic violence, including loss of earnings, medical and dental expenses."
All members of the household, whether a relative, spouse, household
worker, or even a de facto partner are included under the purview of the draft
law on Domestic Violence.
The definition of violence includes not just
physical, psychological or sexual abuse but even economic abuse involving
unreasonable depravation of financial resources which a victim requires, such as
household expenses and payment of mortgage, workers' salaries etc. Unreasonable
disposal of property or household effects would also amount to economic
Harassment, intimidation, damage to property, unreasonable demands
or long working hours without a break, poor living conditions, deprivation of
medical care, fresh air or preventing household workers from meeting or
communicating with family, relative or friends are also included in the
definition of domestic violence.
In cases where the children are affected, Article 13 provides for the court
to "invite a social organization working with children to attach itself with the
case and ensure the interests and well being of the children concerned... the
prosecutor or any responsible person appointed by the court may make periodic
enquiries about the child's welfare and submit reports to the court."