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Sri Lankan Law Forum » Criminal Law Forum » Domestic Violence in Sri Lanka

Domestic Violence in Sri Lanka

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1 Domestic Violence in Sri Lanka on Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:26 pm

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Sri Lanka's obligations under CEDAW gave the impetus for the enactment of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, No.34 of 2005, indicating the fact that it is a piece of legislation mainly to protect vulnerable individuals like women from domestic violence; However, with the following shortcomings of this 2005-Act, to what extent it has achieved its ends becomes rather dubious.

In the Domestic Violence Act, the definition of 'domestic violence' does not make any specific reference to women, despite their being at greatest risk of violence within the family unit; and, in order to do justice for female victims of domestic violence, an independent definition that would recognise gendered dimensions of domestic violence is required.

Another flaw of the Domestic Violence Act is, it is mainly concerned with protecting the victim rather than punishing the offender; and, deterrent punishment is imposed on the abuser only in the event of violation of the protection order, not otherwise.

The Domestic Violence Act does not provide for medical service providers to make complaints to the Police of evidence of domestic violence; nor does the Act provide instructions to the Police about what actions should be taken with regard to responding to complaints of domestic violence.

Further, the Domestic Violence Act makes provision for the court to order counseling and the counsellors have often advised the female victims to return to the abusive environment and seek reconciliation with the abuser, thereby making redundant the protection order.

Furthermore, there's a lack of government sponsored shelter for the accommodation of victims of domestic violence who are compelled to get back to their violent partner, which aggravates the situation of the female victim of violence on the one hand whilst rendering futile the efforts of the prosecutors on the other hand.

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