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Report No. 263

5. Domestic Violence Impacting Children

5.1 In case, a woman suffers from domestic violence and runs away along with the child from the place of 'habitual residence', though violence may not be against the child, it may have very serious impact and repercussions on the child. Thus, in such a case, the Court has to consider whether repatriation of the child would cause any moral, physical, social, cultural or psychological harm to the child or any other legal harm to the mother, with whom the child is in India or violates fundamental rights or human rights, as provided in the Hague Convention, 1980, itself.

5.2 Unfortunately, women involved in cross-jurisdictional divorces, 'holiday marriages' or 'limping marriages' have to face additional challenges in the custody battle, which also relate to jurisdiction, access to judicial recourse and resources. This may be viewed as a bias against the interests of women. The woman must not be put in a situation where she has to make the impossible choice between her children and putting up with abusive relationship in a foreign country. This kind of discord between the husband and wife also creates apprehension as to risk to the lives of the wife and her family members at the hands of the husband or others, and many a times, the party seeks police protection and the help of civil society/social workers.

5.3 Interestingly, the statistics, of particular import to the developing countries, where the conditions of women battling for divorce is deplorable, shows that globally, 68 per cent of the taking parents were mothers; 85 per cent of these respondent mothers were the primary caregivers of their children and 54 per cent had gone home to a country in which they held citizenship-even if that was not their 'habitual residence'.

Protection of Children (Inter-Country Removal and Retention) Bill, 2016 Back

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