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Intimate Partner Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics
28(1) 53–82
Violence and © 2016 Sage Publications India
Private Limited
Women’s SAGE Publications
Help-seeking DOI: 10.1177/0260107915609818
Evidence from India

Sohini Paul1

This study examines the role of socio-economic characteristics that
influence a battered woman in India to either remain silent or approach
someone for help in response to domestic violence. We investigate
the influence of socio-economic factors on choosing between formal
and informal sources of seeking help. The dataset used for the analysis
is a nationally representative, community-based survey database—the
National Family Health Survey-3 (NFHS-3). A logistic regression frame-
work was used to analyze the data. The results suggest that education and
economic empowerment play a crucial role in deciding whether to seek
help to stop domestic violence. Women exposed to violence attempts
utilize both formal and informal sources of help; however, informal
sources of help are more popular compared with formal sources in India.

JEL: J12

Gender, domestic violence, help-seeking behaviour, India

Fellow, National Council of Applied Economic Research, New Delhi, India.

Corresponding author:
Sohini Paul, Fellow, National Council of Applied Economic Research, Parishila
Bhawan, 11, IP Estate, New Delhi 110002, India.

54 Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics 28(1)

Our objective in this article is to examine the role of socio-economic
characteristics that influence a battered woman to either keep quiet or
approach someone for help in response to intimate partner violence
(IPV). Intimate partner violence refers to violence caused by the husband
or an intimate partner, which includes physical, sexual, emotional and
psychological forms of abuse. It is one of the most common forms of
violence against women in the world. A study in 2005 by the World
Health Organization on male IPV against women in 10 countries found
that the rate of IPV ranged from 4 to 54 per cent. The situation is no
different in India, which is a fast-growing country in terms of gross
domestic product (GDP) growth rate. A nationwide survey revealed
that 52 per cent of Indian women have suffered at least one incident of
physical or psychological assault in their lifetime (ICRW, 2000). Another
survey reports that 37 per cent of women respondents are exposed to
spousal violence in the form of physical or sexual assault (NFHS-3,
2005–06). Despite the adoption of different policies in India to end
violence against women, including the anti-domestic violence law in
2006, IPV remains the major risk factor that threatens the psychological
and physical well-being of women in India.
Victimized women, in general, have two choices: They can either
keep quiet and continue to submit to torture, or they can seek help. By
seeking help against an abusive husband, they may initiate the process of
leaving the husband and ending the marriage. Such a decision is difficult
in a traditional society like India where social stigma plays a negative
role; additionally, there are few economic opportunities for women.
The help-seeking behaviour of battered women has received consider-
able attention among social science researchers in the past few decades.
One strand of research examines the type (formal or informal) of
sources chosen by abused women and the reasons for the choice, while
another strand explores the barriers to help seeking. However, there
appears to be little empirical data on variations in help-seeking beha-
viour among abused women in India. This is a critical area in terms of
policy formulation.
In this article, we examine the role of socio-economic characteristics
that influence a battered woman to either keep quiet or approach some-
one for help in response to domestic violence. We also investigate the
influence of socio-economic factors in their choice of formal versus
informal sources in seeking help. For the analysis, we used the database
of the National Family Health Survey 3 (NFHS-3), which is a nationally
representative, community-based survey conducted in 2005–2006.

Paul 55

We used a logistic regression model to answer the research questions.
The dependent variable is a categorical variable indicating whether a
battered woman seeks help or not. It takes the value 1 if a woman seeks
help and zero otherwise. Education as a measure of awareness and eco-
nomic empowerment plays a crucial role in determining whether to seek
help or not when exposed to violence. Battered women in India attempt
to use both informal and formal sources. The type of sources to be used
depends on the type of violence experienced. The cultural construct of
the society also plays an important role in this case.
The second section summarizes the relevant research literature and
in the third section we describe the theoretical framework. The fourth
section describes the dataset and a profile of the sample. The fifth and
six sections cover, respectively, the methodology and the results, and the
seventh section concludes.

Literature Review
Globally, abused women face significant barriers in obtaining support
for several reasons. Often, they are reluctant to disclose abuse or to
seek help to end the violence because of their traumatic experience. They
are frightened that they will be blamed or not believed (Garcia-Moreno,
Jansen, Watts, Ellsberg & Heise, 2005). They also perceive that violence
is normal or not serious, and fear consequences in terms of a re-attack by
the perpetrator or the risk of losing their children (Fanslow & Robinson,
2011; Miller et al., 2010).
Although there is a considerable body of research on the association
between domestic violence and help-seeking behaviour, most of the
studies are based on data from developed countries. The main focus
of such literature is on the types of sources that abused women use
while seeking help, which may be formal or informal, and why they
choose such sources (Du Mont, Forte, Choen, Hyman & Romans, 2005).
The research shows that many abused women depend on informal
sources such as relatives, neighbours and friends to end violence (Gelles
& Straus, 1988; Jenkins & Davidson, 2001; Pagelow, 1981a, 1981b;
Schulman, 1979). Women approach formal sources for help when their
informal contacts fail to provide a solution to the problem (Baker, 1997;
Bowker, 1986; Dutton, 1996). A few studies also discuss barriers to
help seeking (Bauer, Rodriguez, Quiroga & Flores-Ortiz, 2000).
One area of research has emphasized the potential association between
the socio-economic characteristics of victims and their choice of formal

Only 4 per cent of the sample had approached legal aid or non-governmental organizations . Azim.. Only 2 per cent of the sample had ever asked for institutional assistance. but they call the police only in the case of sexual violence. this study is limited to migrant women. there are a few insight- ful studies. Gelles & Straus. Pakistani and Filipino women. Bybee. The NFHS data indicates that one in three married women has experienced physical or sexual violence at least once in their lifetime (NFHS-3. Battered women are also anxious about creating problems for their parents. Informal support is more important for economically weaker women who may not be able to afford formal services. Ferreira. 1977. a coastal state in India. Dabby and Blazevisky (2011) focused on Indian. 1988. In a recent study using a Canadian population survey dataset. The setting in India is similar. 1998) and those who had been abused physically and verbally. women who are young (Abel & Suh. There is also the fear of losing family honour (Kanukollu & Mahalingam. In terms of help-seeking behaviours in India. which would bring shame and may stigmatize the family’s reputation. 1987. Yoshihama. legal assistance. Pierre (2011) mentioned that the majority of women covered in the survey used at least one type of formal service or informal support in response to violence.56 Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics 28(1) or informal sources in response to violence (West. Lee & Hadeed. Mashelkar. An additional barrier in the South Asian context is the cultural prohibition against discussing family problems. Women who suffered from depression sought help. the cultural construct of women in traditional society hinders them from reporting violence and seeking help. Pinto and Pirankar (2013) conducted a survey of battered women in Goa. However. Kaufman Kantor & Jasinski. 2005–06). whereas women with poor health did not do so (Gelles & Straus. Barrett and St. 2011. 2009). In Bangladesh. Bhuiya & Persson. Sixty-eight per cent of the sample remained silent in response to violence for reasons ranging from lack of financial sources to emotional attachment and concern for their children. fear of intensification of the violence and the acceptance of violence as fate. 1979. Gelles. Indian and Pakistani women seek all four types of assistance. Those who sought help tended to be women with higher education. In general. Migrant women mainly use one of the four sources of assistance: the police. Dobash & Dobash. 1998). 2006). domestic violence shelters and non-shelter domestic violence programmes. Evidence on help-seeking behavioural patterns among abused women from developing countries is rare. West et al. The main reasons for their silence were social stigma. Kamat. 66 per cent of abused women were silent about their plight (Naved. 1988). but the findings are mixed.

and 29 per cent had talked to informal sources.Paul 57 (NGOs). Against this backdrop. . Theoretical Framework Though a formal theoretical framework for help-seeking behaviour is yet to be developed. Narra and Weintraub (2005). These studies are limited to a specific socio-economic section of society. (2012) conducted a survey of perinatal women living in low-income communities of urban Mumbai and found that one in three women sought external help during their most recent experience of domestic violence. (2005). we have addressed the role of socio- economic factors in choosing formal versus informal sources of help. women prefer an informal support system to institutional help. a broad framework is provided by Liang. we have also examined the choice of sources by battered women. The low utiliza- tion of formal sources is due to the poor services of shelter homes and other support systems. Figure 1. However. which is drawn from the general behaviour of help seeking. Model of Help Seeking and Change Source: Adapted from Liang et al. To be specific. Goodman. We have presented this model in Figure 1. What is required is a study that examines behaviours across socio-economic categories and identifies the impact of socio-economic characteristics on determin- ing whether to seek external help or not. Given that India is a traditional society. we have attempted to examine how socio- economic characteristics of the Indian society affect decision-making behaviours related to seeking help in response to violence. Decker et al.

The first stage is defining and recognizing the problem. In many cases. 1987). Individual. interpersonal and sociocultural influences play a role. This phase is termed the pre-contemplation stage. In a transtheoretical model (Prochaska. The second stage of the model involves the decision to seek help. Individuals respond to problems in a variety of ways. 2003. The definition of abuse by a victim may change over time under individual influence. Abused women perceive the abuse within the context of social. Here again. 1992). Social or religious norms in many traditional societies advocate IPV as a private affair between husband and wife. emotions mediate between cognition and intentional actions (Brandstadter. 2003) use a stage model.. where . followed a continuous shift led by her cognitive assessment of the situation and the shift in external circumstances. This is closely associated with whether they are ready to make changes in the regular pattern of their lives. there are situations when women may downplay their problems by comparing themselves to others with more serious problems. relational and sociocultural factors influence women in defining the problem. Goodman. DiClemente & Norcross. 1990). internal. Whether or not a battered woman seeks help would stem from defining the problem herself. Haggerty & Goodman.58 Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics 28(1) A psychological model of help seeking and change focuses on the help-seeker’s internal and cognitive processes. Blank. 2001). This process is not necessarily linear. Dutton. the decision to seek help and the selection of a help provider. even if the three stages are presented in a distinct manner. cultural and religious institutions that are reinforced by power inequalities between men and women (Connell. 1998). Socio-economic factors play a major role in defining a problem. Rovnyak & Barnett. depending on how they define or label such problems (Fox. Studies by Goodman (Goodman et al. rather than a crime for which the abuser may be held legally responsible. Weinfurt and Cook. Although the theoretical model is presented in cognitive terms.. These internal processes are influenced by interpersonal and socio- cultural factors. The help-seeking literature identifies two internal conditions as funda- mental for seeking support: Recognizing a problem as undesirable and realizing that the problem is unlikely to be solved without the help of others (Cauce et al. (2003) also found a positive correlation between the severities of abuse and help seeking by IPV survivors. and how they evaluate the severity of their problems (Greenlay & Mullen. feelings of guilt and shame deter abused women from seeking help. and defines three stages: problem recognition and definition. 2002).

Campbell & Kub. but as a ‘cold’ or ‘distant’ person (Rose. El-Bassel and Baig-Amin (2003) in a comparative study of help seeking among African American. Interestingly. after recognizing problem and taking a decision to seek help. they do not consider their fathers as a support. Therefore. many women have witnessed violence perpetuated by their fathers in their childhood. the role of socio-economic factors on the decision- making process of seeking help and the selection of formal versus informal sources in response to violence. Finding help may appear to follow the first two steps. 2000). the cost of using formal services may be exorbitantly high. They may consider the rela- tive cost of losing their privacy in choosing informal support versus the cost of remaining silent and accepting violence. half the African American and Hispanic women among the respondents approached formal sources including the police and lawyers for help.Paul 59 victims progress from using private attempts to deal with the problem to using their informal network of family and friends. For example. women think that the cost of death by remaining silent or by using only informal support would be much higher than the risk of seeking help from formal sources. In the third stage of the model. we used a nationally representative. while only a quarter of Asian women used formal sources in response to violence. In many cases. We have empirically tested the second and third stages of the theo- retical model. Abused women choose the type of support through a cost–benefit analysis of the situation (Broadhurst. In many situations. consisting of community agencies. that is. given the sources of disempowerment or the lack of psychological and economic sources. For example. community-based survey database: the NFHS-3 conducted in 2005–2006. a help provider would be selected. 2003). Yoshioka. Description of the Data For the analysis. female friends are identified as a source of emotional support. Hispanic and South Asian battered women found that most of the women sought help from informal sources. but in reality the process is not straightforward or linear. Gilbert. At the time of severe violence. Interpersonal interactions and the relationships of abused women with others influence the cognitive process of the cost–benefit analysis. The sociocultural context plays a significant role in the selection of sources. At a later stage they approach the formal system. or the legal system as the degree of violence worsens. The information .

Women frequently bear with multiple forms of domestic violence.1 physical and emotional violence.385 women in the age group of 15–49. This survey covers a sample of 109.851. physically as well as emotionally. gun or another weapon in 1 per cent of the cases. Partners have humiliated them in front of others by saying or doing something in 13 per cent of the cases and 8 per cent of the women complained that their husband had insulted them and made them feel bad. 35 per cent of women reported that their husband had slapped them on at least one occasion. dragging or beating her (12 per cent) at least once in their lifetime. and the majority of the women fall in the age group of 30–39. 39 per cent of the women reported that they had experienced physical violence in different forms at least once in their lifetime. The profile of the sample is given in Table 2. push- ing. punching her with his fist or with something that could hurt her (11 per cent) and kick- ing. We have considered only those women who answered questions related to domestic violence and help seeking for analysis. The most common form of physical violence is slapping. shaking or throwing something at her (14 per cent). Other forms of violence include twisting her arm or pulling her hair (16 per cent). which is reported in 5 per cent of the cases for long-run violence. one woman may report multiple forms of violence.041 households and 124. Male counterparts can go to extremes by threatening to harm them or someone close to them. The average age . In 2 per cent of the cases. Men have threatened or attacked their wives with a knife.60 Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics 28(1) comes from 29 states that consist of 99 per cent of the population of India. Only married women were considered for the study. The average age of the women respondents is 31 years. They face domestic violence. In terms of emotional violence. experienced by married women in Table 1. the partner was ruthless enough to try to choke or burn her. Since the different types of violence are not mutually exclusive. We have reported different forms of IPV. This reduced the working sample size to 30. but there is the issue of under-reporting of such violence because of social stigma. 16 per cent of the women have experi- enced emotional violence at least once in their life. The NFHS-3 has collected information on violence under two categories—(i) lifetime violence: whether the interviewee has suffered any kind of abuse at least once in her lifetime and (ii) violence in the short run: whether a woman has been exposed to violence in the past year. We used the national women’s weight to tabulate the summary statistics as well as the analy- sis. In the sample.

shook her. Profile of the Sample Age (in years) 15–19 9. Note: Sum of different categories of physical or emotional violence does not add up to the figure reported for any form of physical or emotional violence as one respondent may report multiple types of violence.21 8.13 20.96 Twisted her arm or pulled her hair 15.Paul 61 Table 1.85 Urban 27. Table 2.48 3.95 8.86 6.21 0. dragged her or beat her up 11.15 25–29 21.68 gun or other weapon Emotional violence Any form of emotional violence 15.56 Insulted her or made her feel bad about herself 8.54 Source: Author’s calculation.79 9.18 1. 1.76 Residence (in %) Rural 72.17 20–24 17.17 30–39 34.39 Pushed her.57 Tried to choke her or burn her 2.25 6.21 Threatened her or attacked her with a knife.15 (Table 2 continued) .8 19.93 11.03 Slapped her 34.32 could hurt her Kicked her.75 40–49 17. Forms of Violence (in %) Types of Violence Lifetime Current Physical violence Any form of physical violence 37.17 Punched her with his fist or with something that 11.92 of others Threatened to harm her or someone close to her 5.19 5.2 Said or did something to humiliate her in front 13. threw something at her 13.

92 Sikh 1.11 (Table 2 continued) .62 Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics 28(1) (Table 2 continued) Education (in %) No education 55.32 Non-nuclear 35.36 Caste/tribe (in %) SC 23.42 OBC 39.15 Other 0.19 Widowed 5.88 <5 years completed 9.61 Marital status (in %) Currently married 89.2 Muslim 14.82 Divorced/separated/deserted 3.18 Christian 1. gauna not performeda 0.51 Religion (in %) Hindu 81.54 5–7 years completed 6.48 Other 26.2 10–11 years completed 2.6 Employment status (in %) Not employed 50.14 12 or more years completed 2.38 Married.34 Household structure (in %) Nuclear 61.12 Buddhist/neo-Buddhist 0.52 ST 10.65 8–9 years completed 23.97 Jain 0.27 1.39 Employed 49.

followed by Christians.71 Source: Author’s calculation. In terms of caste. the majority of women who sought help cannot read or write.35 Witnessed domestic violence in childhood (in %) 29. In the sample. and most couples have two children. respectively. However. One-third does not belong to any of these three groups. which reflects the transition from a joint to the nuclear family in Indian society. the majority of the women are Hindu (81 per cent). 1999). even though the majority of women are from rural India. the average number of years of school- ing is 5–9 for women. and 14 per cent are Muslims. of first marriage is 18. Forty-five per cent of the women who sought help were currently employed and were in the age group of 15–49. Note: aGauna is a custom widely popular in case of child marriage in north India.Paul 63 (Table 2 continued) Wealth distribution (in %) Lowest quintile 26. It is associated with consummation of marriage at a ceremony after several years of marriage. 10 per cent to Scheduled Tribes and 40 per cent to other backward classes (OBCs). On average. The proportion of illiterate women in rural areas is double that of women in urban areas. More than two-thirds of the help seekers live in rural areas and one- third live in urban localities. which is an indicator of the living standard and is consistent with measures of income and expenditure (Rutstein.16 Middle quintile 20. 24 per cent of battered women who sought help belong to Scheduled Castes. The economic status of a household is measured through the wealth index. Approximately 30 per cent of the respondents had witnessed domestic violence during childhood. housing characteristics and the household asset data were used to . Sikhs and Buddhists/ neo-Buddhists. irrespective of their place of residence. The educational attainment of a battered woman is important to give her courage to seek help in response to violence.2 In NFHS-3. the women have been married for 10–14 years. Following the pattern of a religious mix in Indian society.14 Second quintile 24. Apart from the illiterate women.39 Highest quintile 11. the proportion of employed women was 52 per cent and 30 per cent in rural and urban India. Interestingly.97 Fourth quintile 17. the household structure is nuclear in most of the families (61 per cent).

05 0. separately.25 3. We have reported the proportion of dif- ferent types of sources used when exposed to physical.89 7. Then. Next.31 Informal sources Family of husband/partner 7.01 0.26 0. the scores were added for each household. In urban areas. Pandey & Wagstaff. emotional or sexual violence.42 0.02 Sought help from any 21.23 0.43 3.59 2. The entire sample was divided into quintiles.32 Other person 0.96 7. that is.02 Neighbour 3.64 8. The final column reports the percentage use of any type of informal/formal sources in response to any type of violence. the resulting factor scores were standardized in relation to a normal distribution with mean zero and standard deviation of 1 (Gwatkin.22 0.51 informal source .27 Current or former husband 0. respondents were ranked by the type of household they lived in. across the states of India. Johnson. through five groups of individuals with an equal number of members in each group. Help Seeking Twenty-four per cent of the battered women sought help from different sources in response to any type of violence. A weight or factor score was assigned to each house- hold asset using principal component analysis (PCA).9 Friend 2. Table 3. Table 3 summarizes the sources they used to seek help.4 6.56 0.02 0. in three columns. Each household was assigned a score for each asset. Sources of Help Seeking (in %) Physical Emotional Sexual Any Type Violence Violence Violence of Violence Sought help from someone 24. Rutstein.23 or partner Current or former boyfriend 0.06 10. Finally.9 3. 46 per cent of the population belonged to the highest wealth quin- tile in contrast to only 7 per cent in the rural areas. 2000). and the distribution of the population in different quintiles of the wealth index varied widely among help seekers.64 Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics 28(1) construct the index.32 0.

51 1. We used a logistic regression framework to answer the question. while the husband’s family helped in 7 per cent of the cases. Two other significant informal sources are neighbours and friends.09 0. subject to the exposure to violence. The research question was stud- ied for three scenarios: whether a victimized woman seeks any help.26 0. neighbour.09 Sought help from any 0.51 Religious leader 0. The most commonly used informal source is their own family (18 per cent). partner or boyfriend. The main socio-economic determinants considered are as follows: age of the respondent.15 0. it takes the value of 1 if a woman seeks any type of help. Methodology The analysis examines the role of socio-economic determinants to pre- dict the probability of seeking help in response to violence.15 Lawyer 0. whether a woman seeks help from an informal source and whether a woman seeks help from a formal source.61 0.09 0. the family of the husband or partner..15 0. whether the respondent . IPV survivors approached the police.34 0. Note: Sum of different types of resources used in response to violence does not add up to the figure reported for any form of informal or formal sources used as one respondent may use multiple sources to stop violence. Informal sources included their own family.41 0. It is evident that abused women use informal support more than formal institutions. friend and some other person. The main variable of interest—help sought by a victimized woman—is a categorical vari- able.22 0. religious leaders. and 0 otherwise. The dependent variable is whether or not a woman seeks any help.35 0.09 1. the current or former husband.e.27 Social service organization 0. In a few cases.92 formal source Source: Author’s calculation. household structure (i.Paul 65 Physical Emotional Sexual Any Type Violence Violence Violence of Violence Formal sources Police 0.15 Doctor 0.15 0. We controlled for exposure to violence in each of the three models.27 0.09 0. a lawyer or a doctor. social service organizations.

For informal support. We also assessed the impact of socio-economic characteristics on the most common forms of informal and formal support after controlling for different types of victimization. Logistic regression was also conducted for the two main sources of formal support used: police and lawyer. middle. We find positive and significant beta coefficient for the age variable under the specifications of the three models. The beta coefficients and the odds ratio of the logistic model are presented. We captured the economic status (wealth index) through four categorical variables: second. except for age of the respondent. while Hindu was used as the base dummy. OBC and other caste. 5–7 years of schooling. With age. A series of binary logistic regression analyses were conducted. while Model 2 and Model 3 take into account the determinants of informal and formal help. employment status. Jain and others. husband’s family. respectively. All the variables are categorical. Model 1 considers the socio-economic determinants if a victimized respondent seeks any help. Five education dummy variables are considered: less than five years of schooling. Three caste dummies were used in the regression: Scheduled Tribe. The role of the same set of socio-economic variables mentioned in the first research question was analyzed for each of the six specifications.66 Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics 28(1) belongs to a nuclear or a joint family). Buddhist/neo-Buddhist. 8–9 years of schooling. Christian. We took into account six religion dummies: Muslim. The log odds ratio for age is also greater than 1. social group. religion. fourth and highest. women become mature and gain the experience to talk about abuse to informal as well as formal sources. while Scheduled Caste was the base dummy. Sikh. Results Table 4 reports the results of the logistic model for three different models. either informal or formal. educational attainment. while first remains the base. economic status. neighbours and friends. ownership of eco- nomic resources and whether domestic violence was witnessed as a child. we used four specifica- tions where the dependent variables were own family. The beta coefficient for less than primary education (completed less than five years of schooling) is statistically insignificant under the three . 10–11 years of schooling and 12 or more years of schooling with no formal education as the base dummy. signifying that age plays a crucial role in seeking help.

21* 1.03) (0.01) (0.04) (0.03) (0.42) 10–11 years 0.05) (0.001) (0.90*** 2.05) (0.18*** 1.14) 12 or more years 0.18) (0.05) (0.83* 2.Table 4.19*** 0.12*** 1.38) Employment status Employed 0.1) (0.93 0.11) (0.5) (1.47* (0.14) (0.06) (0.05) (0.07) (0.16*** 0.17*** 0.13*** 0.03) (0.04*** (0.26* 0. Results: Help-seeking Behaviour in Response to Domestic Violence and Socio-economic Determinants Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Any Help Informal Help Formal Help Beta Coeff Odds Beta Coeff Odds Beta Coeff Odds Age 0.17) (0.08) Education <5 years –0.04*** 1.14) (0.04) (0.04) (0.44* 1.23* 0.55* (0.19*** 0.06) (0.01*** 0.16*** 0.84*** 0.83*** 0.13) (0.30* (0.03 0.03 1.12) (0.05) (0.01** 0.43) 5–7 years 0.41) (1.06 1.26) (0.11) (0.04) (0.06 1.03) (0.33 (0.77* 0.85 2.38*** 1.001) (0.05) (0.9 0.34* (0.14*** 1.85*** 0.11 0.2) (Table 4 continued) .07 0.005*** 1.11) (0.09) (0.20*** 3.001) (0.04** 1.4) 8–9 years 0.45*** (0.

44 0.36** 1.21 (0.32) (0.52*** 0.73 0.48) Jain 0.83*** 2.83) (0.19 1.70*** 0.05) (0.11) (0.04) (0.35** 0.15) (0.24) Christian –0.42*** 0.2) (0.9 (0.36*** 0.1) (0.2) Other –0.70*** 2.03 1.86 (0.04 0.53 1.03) (0.12) (0.70** –0.51 1.14) (0.03 0.03) (0.3) Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 .59 (0.49) (0.77*** 0.02 0.82) (0.08 (0.04) (0.5) (0.1) (0.12) (0.15 0.46*** 0.05 1.72) (0.83 (0.98 0.19) (0.07) (0.6) Buddhist/neo-Buddhist 0.64 0.10 0.67 (0.09) (0.03) (0.58) Sikh –0.35) (0.04) (0.07) (0.21) (0.19) (0.65*** 0.53) (0.36*** 1.30*** –2.13) (0.11) Religion** Muslim –0.15) (0.7 –0.05) (0.44) (0.02) (0.(Table 4 continued) Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Any Help Informal Help Formal Help Beta Coeff Odds Beta Coeff Odds Beta Coeff Odds Household structure* Nuclear 0.95 0.05 0.55 0.43** –0.18 0.01*** –0.25) (0.

08* 0.51*** (0.92* 0. *p < 0.03) (0.06) (0.13*** 0.15) (0.07) (0.15) Richest 0.14) Witnessed violence –0.04) (0.10.01 –0.87*** 0.41*** (0.78* (0.09** 1.31*** –0.06) (0.27*** 1.16 0.06) (0.27 0.14) Economic status (WI) Poor –0.26* 0.04) (0.12* 0.04) (0.03) (0.04) (0.92* 0.76 (0.41** 1.53) Other factors Own economic resources –0.01 1.26) (0.01.07) (0. Notes: Standard errors are reported in parentheses.17*** 1.18*** –0.04) (0.08) (0.05.31) (1.78*** –0.04) (0.05) (0.11*** 1.85 (0.15) Middle –0.04 1.33*** 0.03) (0.03 0.21 0.18) (0.04) (0.04) (0.06) (0.14) OBC 0.09** 1.03) (0.14*** 0.004 0.99 –0.13 1.76*** –0.05) (0.11 1.11) (0. **p < 0.8 (0.05 0.16) Rich –0.72*** in childhood (0.04) (0.18*** 0.13 (0.18) (0.04) (0. ***p < 0.12) Other 0.79** 3.03) (0.95 0.07) (0.12 –0.09** –0.22) (0.14) (0.29*** 1.66* (0.08* 0.04) (0.10** –0.04) (0. .06) (0.1) Source: Author’s calculation. Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Any Help Informal Help Formal Help Beta Coeff Odds Beta Coeff Odds Beta Coeff Odds Caste/tribe*** ST 0.24*** 0.18) (0.04) (0.06) (0.84*** 0.33** 0.04) (0.06) (0.67** 0.05) (0.03) (0.27*** 1.89* 0.05) (0.04) (0.

we can infer that education is a crucial determinant of help-seeking behaviour among battered women in India. Under Model 3. Women who own economic resources have a higher chance of using informal sources in response to abuse than victimized women who do not own any economic resources. they opt for more formal sources of help when they are victimized compared to uneducated women. instead. The impact of ownership of economic resources is not very strong on help-seeking behaviour. However. 8–9 and 10–11 years of schooling. The results also show that women who have 12 or more years of education do not seek any significant help from informal sources.70 Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics 28(1) models. there is a negative association with seeking help from informal sources. an educated woman has higher predicted probability to approach a source for help than a woman who is not educated. this does not play a significant role in choosing between formal and informal help to stop domestic violence. If a woman is employed. the log odds ratio for OBC respondents is less than one and is signi- ficant. when exposed to domestic violence. indicating that formal sources of help are less popular among them. Forward castes as well as Scheduled Tribe women prefer to share their experiences with informal sources than seeking formal help. This indicates that in response to domestic violence. The log odds under Model 3 for this particular category are sig- nificantly high. Employed women choose informal as well as formal sources of help. Thus. Among Buddhist/neo-Buddhist women. However. beta coeffi- cients for both these religions are statistically insignificant in the case of formal help. The beta coefficient of employment is positive and significant in the three models. it is positive and significant for 5–7. friends and neighbours about their experience of violence and seek help compared to their Hindu counterparts. The signi- ficantly high log odds in both cases implies that they talk more with family. Beta coefficients of help seeking are statistically insignificant for Muslim and Jain respondents under the three models. However. Christian and Sikh women are more likely to use informal sources than Hindu women. the beta coefficient for use of formal resources is statistically . They approach their social network for help significantly less than Hindu women. Scheduled Tribe women have lower predicted probability of using formal or informal help than Scheduled Caste women. We considered two indicators of economic empowerment: employ- ment and ownership of economic resources. the predicted probability of seeking help is higher than that of an unemployed woman. Although we have observed a significant shift in the family structure of India from joint to nuclear. as indicated by the high and significant log odds ratio.

The richest stratum uses fewer informal sources than the poorest one. neighbours or friends for lifetime physical violence. Except for the OBC dummy. while it has a moderate impact on seeking help from the respondent’s own family. IT was also concluded that battered women from the richer groups have resources to purchase formal services. neigh- bours and friends. The poor and middle-income group respondents use more informal help than the poorest level of the respondent group. though they seek help from these sources for short-term physical vio- lence. They seek help from informal sources. Education does not have much impact on seeking help from neighbours or the husband’s family. All the informal sources play a signi- ficant positive role in the case of lifetime sexual violence. abused women prefer not to approach family. The beta coefficient for informal help is also positive and significant for women who have witnessed domestic violence as children. Table 5 shows the socio-economic determinants in selecting four major informal sources of support: own family. education plays a signi- ficant role. beta coefficients for the caste dummies are significant but negative. but this is expected because the social sigma may be higher for the richest. The economic status of the respondent’s family plays an important role in choosing the family as an informal source of help. while battered women with their own economic resources depend on family and friends. economic status had no statistically significant impact in terms of seeking formal sources of help. It is interesting to note that abused respondents from a nuclear family prefer to seek help from neighbours. Women prefer not to share the experience of short-term sexual violence with family or friends. be it short or long term. while caste has a mixed impact. the higher is the probability of seeking help from friends. The higher the level of education. Women who have witnessed violence as children prefer to seek help from family. The economic status of a respondent’s family is measured through the wealth index. husband’s family. Except for the two highest income groups. All four informal sources have a significant impact on emotional violence. friends and neighbours.Paul 71 insignificant. . Among the socio-economic determinants. indicating that ownership of economic resources does not play much of a role in seeking help from formal sources such as the police or lawyers. Religion does not have much impact on choosing informal sources of help. Employed women prefer to rely on friends and neighbours. With respect to the type of victimization.

02 1.16) (0.003 0.01 0.06) (0.24 0.62*** 0.97 0.09) (0.59) (0.07) (0.43) (0.04 0.21*** 1.21*** 1.07 1.07) (0.11) Short-term physical –0.05) (0.01 (0.27*** 0.95** 0.39*** –0.02) (0.003 0.44) (0.22*** 1.17) Lifetime sexual 0.03) (0.53*** violence (0.04) (0.53*** 1.03*** 1.04 0.007*** 1.15) (0.04 0.09) (0.08) (0.09) (0.66** violence (0.05 Education <5 years completed –0.1) (0.76*** violence (0.70*** 0.28*** 1.14) (0.08) (0.99 0.62*** 0.14* 0.35*** 0.001 1.48* 4.002) (0.91*** 2.15) (0.05) (0.03 0.03 0.09) (0.24*** 0.40*** –1.51*** violence (0.96 0.11) (0.57*** 1.42*** 1.93*** 2.16) (0.42* 0.56*** 1.15) Short-term sexual –0.48*** 1.47*** 1.06) (0.07) (0.54*** (0.22) Short-term emotional 0.24) (0.05 0.76*** –0.21) .16* 1.43*** 1.04) (0.52*** 1.50*** 0.60*** 0.08) (0.002) 0.26*** Violence (0.21) Socio-economic characteristics Age 0.05) (0.06) (0.92*** 2.54*** 0.1) Lifetime emotional 0.57*** violence (0.82) (1.007*** 0.22*** 0.09) (0.06) (0.02*** 0.32*** 0.05) (0.48*** 1.Table 5.33*** 0.12) (0.11) (0.06) (0.45*** 1.09) (0.04) (0. Results: Domestic Violence and Informal Support Own Family Husband’s Family Neighbours Friends Beta Coeff Odds Beta Coeff Odds Beta Coeff Odds Beta Coeff Odds Lifetime physical –0.07) (0.13) (0.29*** 1.07) (0.11) (0.64*** 0.09) (0.16) (0.09) (0.02 –0.77*** 0.17) (0.09) (0.

15 0.39*** 1.65*** 1.15 0.18) (0.05) (0.29) (0.28) 8–9 years completed 0.09 1.05) (0.27) (0.21** 1.05) (0.76) Employment status Employed 0.49*** 0.2) (0.19) (0.04) (0.1) (0.88 –0.1) (0.11 1.16) (0.05) (0.07 1.68 0.64*** completed (0.91*** 1.38 0.23) (0.76) 12 or more years 0.33) Sikh 0.29*** 0.92*** (0.13) (0.08) (0.55*** 1.26) (0.27 1.2) (0.38) (0.66) (0.09 0.12 0.08 1.41) (0.07 (0.21 0.03 1.09) (0.22) 10–11 years completed 0.12) (0.73*** (0.07 0.08 0.15) (0.19 0.97*** 2.31 1.05) (0.42) (0.06) (0.02 0.05 0.40*** 1.13) (0.64*** 1.05 1.48 0.16 1.1) (0.16) (0.19 1.07) (0.23) (0.18) (0.28) (0.08 1.13) Christian 0.08) (0.15 1.25*** 1.1) (0.24*** 0.25) (0.52) (0.19** 1.14*** 1.09) (0.23*** 0.29) (0.09) Religion** Muslim 0.08) (0.61*** (0.11 1.13) (0.09) (0.06) (0.23** (0.21*** 1.96*** 2.19 1.03 0.16) (0.09) (0.3 0.14 0.04) (0.14) (0.21** –0.12 1.12 (0.13 0.22) (0.04) (0.04) (0.12 –0.03 1.05) (0.31*** 1.04) (0.39*** 0.27 1.11) Household structure* Nuclear 0.12) (0.07) (0.19) (0.86 (0.38 0.13) (0.52) (0.48*** –0.14* 1.06) (0.3 (0.22*** 3.09) (0.07) (0.28) (0.37*** 0.09) (0.5–7 years completed 0.46) (Table 5 continued) .2 0.72 0.

10 0.06) (0.18*** 1.41 0.09) Economic status (WI) Second 0.05) (0.8) (0.08) Middle 0.24*** 0.09) (0.14) (0.33 0.36) (0.23) (0.32) (0.58) Caste/tribe*** ST –0.04) (0.06) (0.06) (0.37** 0.01 1.(Table 5 continued) Own Family Husband’s Family Neighbours Friends Beta Coeff Odds Beta Coeff Odds Beta Coeff Odds Beta coeff Odds Buddhist/neo-Buddhist –0.04) (0.13) OBC 0.11) (0.57) (0.16) (0.05) (0.23** 1.35** 0.03 1.1) (0.05) (0.17 0.45) (0.09) (0.07) (0.24) (0.26** (0.07) (0.67*** 0.05) (0.05 1.3*** 3.69 0.68) (0.05) (0.16) (0.16 1.73 0.26) (0.22) (0.19*** –0.3) (0.02 0.05 –0.02) (0.26** (0.45*** 0.82*** –0.04) (0.08) (0.1) (0.06) (0.31 0.76) Other 0.06) (0.79** (0.54*** –0.03 1.07) (0.44) Jain –1.13) (Table 5 continued) .71) (0.64*** –0.23) (0.03 0.13** 1.25*** 0.18) (0.47) (0.06) (0.22 0.68** –0.8 (0.9 0.29 –0.23** 1.88) (0.13) Other –0.23) (0.05) (0.02 (0.07) (0.06) (0.08) (0.14*** 0.14*** 1.49 (0.12 0.09) (0.24** 0.07) (0.46*** 0.71*** –0.89 –0.2 (0.04) (0.32 1.09) (0.02 0.97 –0.13** –0.06) (0.19 1.65 –0.70** (0.20*** 0.34*** 0.05) (0.11) (0.02 1.61*** 0.38 1.78*** –0.64*** 0.09 0.17) (0.77*** –0.

1) Source: Author’s calculation.05. ***p < 0.06 0.22*** 1.13* 1.35** 0.16** as a child (0.39*** 4.15*** 1.92 0.08) (0.07) (0.09) Highest 0.26 1.85 –1.1) (0.74* n 0.06) (0.06) (0.06) (0. Notes: Standard errors are reported in parentheses.24*** 0.03) (0.45) Own economic 0.30*** 0.09) (0.06) (0.70** (0.11) (0.26*** 1. **p < 0.11*** 0.05) (0.09) (0.29*** resources (0.14* 1. *p < 0.06) (0.09) (0.26* 0.16*** 0.04) (0.08) (0.03) (0.14) (0.09) (0.06) (0.10*** 1.08 1.08* – 0.22) (0.05 1.1) Witnessed violence 0.05*** (0.10.11) (0.35) (0.15 0.04) (0.08 0.04) (0.04) (0. .(Table 5 continued) Own Family Husband’s Family Neighbours Friends Beta Coeff Odds Beta Coeff Odds Beta Coeff Odds Beta coeff Odds Fourth 0.08 –0.06) (0.14* –0.26*** 1.34*** 0.01.07* 1.09) (0.

03) (0.35 violence (0.04) (0.76 Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics 28(1) Table 6 shows the results of the logistic regression from the two main formal sources of help: the police and a lawyer.57) (0.07** 0.63) (1.99) Lifetime emotional 0.77) (0.09 (0.07) 12 or more years 0.6) (0.07) Short-term physical –0.76) (0.32) (0.04*** 1.57) Short-term sexual –0.56 0.2) (0.39*** (0.01*** 2.68*** 0.74*** 0.44) Short-term emotional 0.91 0.32) (0.49) (1.23) (0.28) (0.61*** –0.68*** (0.56 1.90*** 2.84) (0.68** . The predicted probabil- ity of choosing the police as a source of help is higher for lifetime sexual and emotional violence. Table 6.78 0.56) (0.53) 5–7 years 1.96 violence (0.22) (1.01) (0.12*** 3.82*** 2.77*** 2.01 violence (0.06** (0.01) (0.08 2.17*** violence (0.98*** (0.52) (0.13) Socio-economic characteristics Age 0.67) (Table 6 continued) .73*** 2.29) (0.99*** 2.47) (0.56) (0.69) (0.69*** (0.49** 0.96 violence (0.09*** 2.2) (0.85) (0.16*** 1.48) (0.57 1.03) Education <5 years 0.18) (0.04*** 0. while it is higher for lawyers only in the case of short-term sexual violence.58 1.65) (0.01) (0.06** 1.8) (1.02) (0.11) (0.29 1.52** 1.09 0.52 3.45*** 1.25) (0.46*** 0.4) 8–9 years 0.68) (0.01 1.47) Lifetime sexual 1.07) (0.04 0.56) 10–11 years 1.77 violence (0. Results: Domestic Violence and Formal Support Police Lawyer Beta Coeff Odds Beta Coeff Odds Lifetime physical 1.29 0. The beta coefficient of short-term physical violence is negative and significant for police.98*** 0.23) (0.69 2.

25 0.24 0.81) (0.06) Caste/tribe*** ST –1.49 1.66 1.35) (0.41 0.09 (0.19) (0.30*** 3.45** 0.78*** 2.76) (0.16** (0.52) (1.29) (0.06 1.69*** (0.09 2.45 (0.02) (0.31) (0.4) Fourth 0.55) Religion** Muslim 0.64) (0.65) (0.05 0.09 1.34 1.13** (0.62) (0.21) (0.25) (0.98 0.25) (0.32 (0.12) (0.09 –.47 (0.79** 0.06) Other 0.59) (0.91) (0.36 (0.32) (Table 6 continued) .22*** 0.73) (0.68) (0.63** –0.51) (0.16) (0.97 (0.32 (0.15) Middle –0.03 0.05*** 0.64 (0.24 0.35) (0.26) (0.61** 0.96 (0.67 1.65) Buddhist/neo-Buddhist 0.14) (0.71) (0.66) (0.57 –1.41 0.53) (0.06 1.22 1.43 0.9) (0.89) (0.02 0.04 (0.71) Economic status (WI) Second 0.17 1.23 (0.2 1.22) Sikh 0.56) (0.09) (0.47 (0.43) (0.03 0.Paul 77 (Table 6 continued) Police Lawyer Beta Coeff Odds Beta Coeff Odds Employment status Employed 0.43) (0.23 0.34 1.78 1.18) (0.88) (0.56 0.29*** 0.12) Highest 0.2) (0.24) (0.8 1.8) (0.07 –2.54) (0.66 –0.43) (0.09) Jain 0.2) (0.9 1.09 1.09) OBC –0.92) Household structure* Non-nuclear 0.09) Christian 0.9) Other –0.18*** 1.26) (0.65) (0.28) (0.14) (0.9 2.48*** 0.

hence. the formal support system in India is neither fully developed nor friendly. Education and employment were found to be the major determinants in using both types of support systems. The results of the analysis indicate that abused women actively attempt to utilize infor- mal and formal assistance in response to violence. Education and indicators of economic empowerment have a significant impact on victimized women who seek formal help. *p < 0. Age and education play an important role in choosing the police as well as lawyers for formal support.29 1. The cultural construct of traditional society deters women from approaching formal support systems. We found significant variation in selecting specific sources of formal or informal support.10 0.17) (0. In India. and at the same time. Discussion and Conclusion In this article. we examined variations in women’s help-seeking behav- iour in response to IPV and tried to determine the extent to which socio- demographic differences among women impacted their participation in both informal and formal help-seeking behaviours.25) (0. informal sources are more popular than formal ones for two reasons. ***p < 0.34 as a child (0.78 Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics 28(1) (Table 6 continued) Police Lawyer Beta Coeff Odds Beta Coeff Odds Own economic 0.43** –0. the findings would be an important addition to the literature of violence against women in developing countries.13) (0.18) (0. Ownership of economic resources is significant in using the police for support. namely. The beta coefficient as well as the log odds ratio for employment status is positive and significant in choosing both these sources of formal support.10. For the analysis we used a large survey database in India.44) (0.43) (0. we need to point to one limitation of the dataset. At the same time.01.9 resources (0.35** 1.05.58) Source: Author’s calculation.32** 0.72** 0.4) Witnessed violence –0. **p < 0. informal and formal. but it is insignificant for lawyers. The anti-domestic violence law . Notes: Standard errors are reported in parentheses.

These initiatives require long-term budgetary commitments as well. Social isolation and economic marginali- zation may increase the vulnerability of an abused woman. Professional service providers as well as service providers from the wider community should be appropriately trained to provide safety to battered women in a sup- portive and non-judgemental fashion. type of toilet facil- ity. Notes 1. a cot/bed. However. Therefore. support for education and new economic opportunities should be aug- mented for women. Emotional abuse may not always be violence in strict sense. an electric fan. number of household members per sleeping room. a pressure cooker. Acknowledgement The author is thankful to the anonymous reviewer for her/his valuable comments. the impact of the law in terms of encouraging women to seek formal help may not be fully captured in the dataset. The cultural construct of a traditional society also promotes ideologies of the helplessness of an oppressed woman. . The responsibilities of families. and the dataset used for the analysis was collected in the same year. type of flooring. Adequate budgetary services along with an awareness campaign about such services may increase the use of formal support. a chair. a radio/transistor. Increased support for battered women’s shelters and reforms in the criminal justice system are other important measures that need to be adopted. 2. it is important to find the determinants of help seeking by women in such a scenario. and ownership of a mattress. the term ‘IPV’ is used as abbreviation of physical and emotional violence for the sake of simplification instead of using multiple terminologies to depict violence. Therefore. type of roofing. drinking water source. material of exterior walls. ownership of a bank or post-office account. friends and neighbours in response to domestic violence should be encouraged by promoting community-based action. The categories of housing characteristics and assets include household elec- trification. The common image of a battered woman is that she surrenders to domestic violence. type of windows. as these two factors were found to be the most important determinants of help seeking. cooking fuel.Paul 79 was passed in 2006 in India. a table. Therefore. because poor women may not be able to purchase services for formal support. Policy initiatives should focus on aug- menting both the formal and informal systems to create a more equitable society for women in India. house ownership.

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