Domestic Violence : When You Become a Victim of Domestic Violence


Domestic Violence : When You Become a Victim of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a matter that is commonly experienced by some households in Indonesia. Primarily, every married couple, have a purpose that they would like to achieve, namely in the form of physical and/or mental happiness. Therefore, husband and wife need to help and complement each other, so that each they can develop their own personalities, to help and to achieve spiritual and material well-being. However, the relationship outside of marriage could potentially cause a domestic violence as mentioned in the Scope of Law Number 23 of 2004 concerning Elimination of Domestic Violence. Domestic Violence caused by several factors which arise later in the households. Started from economic factors, behavioral factors, and psychological factors often cause conflicts. The absence of awareness and understanding of each party to fulfill their obligations and a prudent attitude to solve problems often worsen problems. Such conditions have resulted in the basic humans’ nature to be selfish, uncontrolled emotions, physical conflict, and one of the parties become a victim.

  1. What is a Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence becomes one of the problems that eventually obtained the attention by the government. Such matter is reflected by the promulgation of Law Number 23 of 2004 concerning Elimination of Domestic Violence (“Law 23/2004”). Article 1 Number 1 Law 23/2004 explains whereas domestic violence is any act against anyone particularly woman, bringing about physical, sexual, psychological misery or suffering, and/or negligence of household including threat to commit act, forcing, or seizure of freedom in a manner against the law within the household.


  1. Who Are the Victims of Crime of Domestic Violence?

The establishment of Law 23/2004 seems to provide benefits, especially for wives (women) who presumably more often become the victims in domestic violence. However, on the other hand, the establishment of Law 23/2004 could cause new problems due to the potential of causing gender inequality. Nevertheless, it should be noted whereas Law 23/2004 applies to everyone, regardless of the gender. Therefore, Law 23/2004 is not only applied to wives, but also husbands. The related matter is in accordance with Article 3 letter b Law 23/2004, which stated whereas the elimination of domestic violence shall be done based on gender equality principle.

Furthermore, based on Article 2 paragraph (1) Law 23/2004, the scope of households consists of:

  • husband, wife, and children;
  • people who have family relationship with the person referred to under letter a due to related by blood, marriage, siblings, nurtured, and guardianship, who lives in the household; and/or
  • the person who works to assist the household and living in the household.

Furthermore, in Article 1 paragraph (3) Law 23/2004, it is explained whereas victim is the individual experiencing violence and/or threat of violence within the household. The victims of domestic violence, especially in violence, is not only cause physical suffering but also psychological suffering. The forms of violence experienced by victims are physical violence, such as beatings, and tortures. Whilst, the forms of psychological violence, such as humiliation, threats, and household neglect. All forms of violence, especially domestic violence are violations of human rights, crimes against human dignity, and forms of discrimination that must be eliminated.


  1. Forms of Domestic Violence

In Article 5 Law 23/2004, it is stated whereas each person is prohibited to carry out domestic violence against an individual within the household by:

  • Physical Violence:
    It is stated in Article 6 Law 23/2004 whereas the act that cause pain, sickness, or serious injury.
  • Psychological Violence:
    It is stated in Article 7 Law 23/2004 whereas the act which cause fear, loss of self-confidence, loss of capability to act, hopelessness, and/or serious psychological suffering on someone.
  • Sexual Violence:
    It is stated in Article 8 Law 23/2004 whereas sexual violence as mentioned shall include:
    1. Forcing sexual intercourse carried out against an individual living within the household;
    2. Forcing sexual intercourse against one of the individuals within the household for commercial purpose and/or a certain purpose.
  • Negligence of Household:
    It is stated in Article 9 Law 23/2004 whereas:
  1. Each person is prohibited to neglect an individual within the household, whilst in fact according to the law prevailing on him/her or due to agreement he/she shall be obliged to provide livelihood, treatment, or care for the person;
  2. The negligence referred to in paragraph (1) shall also apply to anyone that cause economic dependence by limiting and/or prohibiting to work properly inside or outside the house thereby the victim is placed under the control of the person concerned.

Based on the explanation above, it should be known that each person is prohibited from committing domestic violence against individuals within their household in any methods. However, if you feel that you are a victim or see acts of domestic violence and fulfill the elements as described above, therefore you could report it to the authorized authorities.


  1. Sanctions for the Perpetrators of Domestic Violence

Sanctions that could be subjected to the perpetrators of domestic violence is criminal sanctions. The criminal provisions are regulated in Chapter VIII Law 23/2004 started from Article 44 to Article 53. For instance, if you feel that you are a victim of domestic violence with physical violence, therefore the sanction that could be subjected to the perpetrator could be seen in Article 44 paragraph (1) to paragraph (4) which stated:

  1. Anyone committing act of physical violence due to domestic violence as referred to Article 5 letter a shall be subjected to imprisonment at the latest of 5 (five) years or fine in maximum of Rp15.000.000,00 (fifteen million rupiah);
  2. In the event of the act referred to paragraph (1) causes the victim to be sick or to have serious injury, the perpetrator shall be subjected to imprisonment in maximum of 10 (ten) years or fine in maximum of Rp30.000.000,00 (thirty million rupiah);
  3. In the event of the act referred to paragraph (2) causes death of the victim, the perpetrator shall be subjected to imprisonment no longer than 15 (fifteen) years or fine in maximum of Rp45.000.000,00 (forty-five million rupiah);
  4. If the act referred to paragraph (1) is committed by a husband to the wife or vice versa which not cause sickness or obstruction to perform work of the position or to earn daily livelihood or activities, the perpetrator shall be subjected to imprisonment no longer than 4 (four) months or fine in maximum amount of Rp5.000.000,00 (five million rupiah).

Furthermore, in Article 50 Law 23/2004 also set forth whereas besides the punishment referred to this chapter, the judge may impose additional sentence in the forms of:

  • Limitation of movement of the perpetrator intended to get the perpetrator away from the victim at a certain distance and within a certain period, or limitation of certain rights of the perpetrator;
  • Determining of the perpetrator to undergo counseling program under the supervision of a certain institution.

Article 51 Law 23/2004 also determined whereas violence crime referred to in Article 44 paragraph (4) is a complain offense, that could only be proceed if there is a complain or approval from the victim, while the paragraph (1), (2), and (3) are the normal offense which could be proceed without a report from the victim.


  1. Legal Protection for Victims of Domestic Violence

In relation to the explanation in point 1 of this article, whereas in Article 26 paragraph (1) Law 23/2004, it is stated that the party which could report directly to the police regarding a domestic violence is the related victim. In result, you need to know the rights that you obtain when a violence occurs in your household according to Article 10 Law 23/2004, which are:

  1. Protection by the family, police, public prosecutor’s office, court, advocate, social institution, or another party either temporary or based on the determination on protection instruction of a court;
  2. Health service in accordance with medical need;
  3. Special handling related to confidentiality of the victim;
  4. Assistance by a social worker and a legal aid worker at each examination process level in accordance with the stipulations of laws and regulations; and
  5. Spiritual guidance service.

In contrast, the family or other parties that could not directly report the suspected domestic violence unless the victim has given the power of attorney to them (Article 26 paragraph (2) Law 23/2004). However, the family could still conduct another act to prevent further violence against the victim. The obligations of the community to take part in preventing domestic violence is regulated in Article 15 Law 23/2004 which stated as follow:

“Anyone hearing, seeing, or knowing the occurrence of domestic violence shall be obliged to make efforts in accordance with his/her limit of capability to:

  • Prevent the continuation of crime;
  • Provide protection to the victim;
  • Provide emergency assistance; and
  • Assist in the process of submission of application for protection determination.”

It is also emphasized whereas in the event of the submission of protection order was submitted by the family, victim’s friend, police, volunteer assistances, or spiritual advisers, therefore the victim must give their consent. However, under certain conditions, the submission could be submitted without victim’s consent (Article 30 paragraph (1), paragraph (3), and paragraph (4) Law 23/2004). The term “certain conditions” are unconscious, comatose, and very life threatening.



This Article is generally made for the purpose of ANR Law Firm publication only and should not be treated as legal advice for your legal problem. Shall you have any further questions regarding this topic, you may contact the Advocate who authored this article at

Author: Brain Ratur Tarigan, S.H.

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