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Author Notes:


Conceived and designed the experiments: ASK RRP RS KLD CDR SS AP. Performed the experiments: ASK RRP SS. Analyzed the data: ASK RRP SS. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: ASK SS. Wrote the paper: ASK RRP RS KLD CDR SS AP.

We would like to acknowledge Vidisha Kante, Latika Karve, Sanjay Kulkarni, Rahul Kanitkar, Mufid Baig, Jayshri Gudadhe, Nitin Patel, Archana Verma, and Vinod Balerao for conducting, transcribing, and/or translating the interviews and focus groups, and Dr. Ramesh Paranjape for his support and guidance.

We also would like to give thanks to the many individuals who participated and shared their experiences in the study.

Co-author Rob Stephenson is a PLOS ONE Editorial Board member, but this does not alter the authors' adherence to PLOS ONE Editorial policies and criteria.


Research Funding:

This project was supported by Fogarty International Center and the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health Research Training Grant #R25 TW009337 and Award# K01TW00009664 to ASK, and the Emory Center for AIDS Research (#P30AI050409).

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

How well does the world health organization definition of domestic violence work for India?


Journal Title:



Volume 10, Number 3


, Pages e0120909-e0120909

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Domestic violence (DV) is reported by 40% of married women in India and associated with substantial morbidity. An operational research definition is therefore needed to enhance understanding of DV epidemiology in India and inform DV interventions and measures. To arrive at a culturally-tailored definition, we aimed to better understand how definitions provided by the World Health Organization and the 2005 India Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act match the perceptions of behaviors constituting DV among the Indian community. Between September 2012 and January 2013, 16 key informant interviews with experts in DV and family counseling and 2 gender-concordant focus groups of lay community members were conducted in Pune, India to understand community perceptions of the definition of DV, perpetrators of DV, and examples of DV encountered by married women in Pune, India. Several key themes emerged regarding behaviors and acts constituting DV including 1) the exertion of control over a woman's reproductive decision-making, mobility, socializing with family and friends, finances, and access to food and nutrition, 2) the widespread acceptance of sexual abuse and the influences of affluence on sexual DV manifestations, 3) the shaping of physical abuse experiences by readily-available tools and the presence of witnesses, 4) psychological abuse for infertility, dowry, and girl-children, and 5) the perpetration of DV by the husband and other members of his family. Findings support the need for a culturally-tailored operational definition that expands on the WHO surveillance definition to inform the development of more effective DV intervention strategies and measures.

Copyright information:

© 2015 Kalokhe et al

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits distribution, public display, and publicly performance, making multiple copies, distribution of derivative works, provided the original work is properly cited. This license requires credit be given to copyright holder and/or author, copyright and license notices be kept intact.

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