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HUL develops policy to help employees facing domestic abuse: Domestic Violence Act Explained

The Hindustan Unilever (HUL) framed a policy  that aims to protect and provide relief to staff members who are survivors of abuse, or acts of emotional and physical abuse beyond the office.

            HUL has issued this policy at a time when a significant number of its workforce is working from home. During the COVID-19 induced lockdowns, cases of domestic violence also rose substantially. The complaints received by the National Commission for Women (NCW) related to domestic abuse against women doubled in the first month of the lockdown.



          The Act( a civil law) is enacted to protect wife or female live-in partner at the hands of the husband or male live-in partner or his relatives, the law also extends its protection to women living in a household such as sisters, widows or mothers from domestic violence-definition being broad and including not only physical violence, but also other forms of violence such as emotional/verbal, sexual, and economic abuse.

           Domestic violence under the act includes actual abuse or the threat of abuse whether physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic. Any form of harassment, coercion, harm to health, safety, limb or well-being is covered.

               Physical abuse: Defined as act or conduct that is of such a nature as to cause bodily pain, harm, or danger to life, limb or health or impair the health or development of the aggrieved person’. Physical abuse also includes assault, criminal intimidation and criminal force.
         Sexual abuse: The legislation defines this as conduct of “sexual nature” that ‘abuses, humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the dignity of a woman.’
          Verbal and Emotional abuse: Insults/ ridicule of any form, including those with regard to inability to have a male child, as well as repeated threats.
          Economic abuse: Categorized as including deprivation of financial resources required for survival of the victim and her children, the disposing of any assets which the victim has an interest/stake in and prohibition/restriction of financial resources which the victim is used to while in the domestic relationship.