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Home > Information about domestic violence > Domestic violence definition

What is Domestic Violence?


Violence is the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm,  bad development, or deprivation (WHO).

According to the definition of the United Nations, domestic violence includes any violent acts based on gender that lead to or are likely to lead to any damage of constitution, sexuality or psychology or any suffering of women, comprising all threats that have such an activity, forcing or depriving arbitrarily the freedom, no matter if it occurs in public spaces or the private sphere.

In Vietnam, the Law for Prevention and Control of Domestic Violence was defined in 2007. It says: “Domestic violence is an intentional action of a family member which causes damage or is likely to cause damage of constitution, the mind or economic situation against the other family members”.



Which different forms of domestic violence are existing?


Physical violence: Any act like kicking, beating, slapping etc. that influences directly the victim’s health. Such action usually occurs between two sides of disparate physical strength, for example like between husband and wife, parents and children or children and aged parents.


Sexual violence: Enforcing sexual contact when the partner doesn’t want to. Incest acts between father and daughter or mother and son, or between brother and sister etc.


Psychological violence: Scolding, upbraiding, refusing to speak over a long time and many other forms that can cause severe psychological stress and harm.


Practice of social violence: Impeding to have any contact with the family, friends, or suppressing economic actions so that any interaction with the public becomes limited.



What act or behaviour can constitute an act of domestic violence?


1. Abusing, maltreating, beating or other intentional actions that damage health or life;


2. Insulting or an other intentional act that offends honor or dignity;


3. Continuous isolating, driving out or putting pressure on the psyche with critical results;


4. Impeding the execution of rights and obligations in the domestic relations between grandparents and grandchildren; between father, mother and child; between wife and husband; between brother and sister;


5. Enforcing or coercing sexual contact;


6. Enforcing child marriage; enforcing marriage, divorce or suppressing voluntary marriage or its progress;


7. Grabbing, destroying, smashing or other intentional actions that damage other family members’ own property or the family members’ common property;


8. Forcing family members to work exceeding their physical resources in order to contribute to finances; controlling the family members’ income to create a status of financial dependency;


9. Illegal acts that force a family member to leave the residence.



Does domestic violence occur in Vietnam?


According to the national research about domestic violence against women in Vietnam published by the General Statistical Office and the United Nations in Vietnam in November 2010, it is reported that up to 58% of the interrogated Vietnamese women stated that they were victims of at least one of the three major forms of domestic violence: physical, sexual, psychical violence. The research also showed that the probability of a women being abused by his husband exceeds the probability of being abused by a stranger more than three times.

Furthermore, it revealed that domestic violence is an important cause threatening children’s life and wellbeing. Children living in a family with domestic violence and witnessing the mother being abused by the father are exposed to a high probability of behavioral problems in comparison to other children.



Why is there so much domestic violence at all?


... because the awareness about gender equality is still limited in the society.


... because the concept of "male supremacy" is still very common in the patriarchal society.  


... because of the point of view that women have to obey, conform and be modest. 


... because of the lack of education, and professional competencies.


... because of limited financial ability of men which can cause stress on them and the family. 


... because of the negative impacts of stimulating substances, abuse of alcohol, and other drugs, which can cause a lack of control and may result in a higher risk of use of violence.

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