The Formal Systems Response to Violence Against Women in India: A Cultural Lens

Suvarna V. Menon, Nicole E. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Violence against women (VAW) has become an increasingly salient issue in India, with women at risk for different forms of gendered violence. While there may be universal elements in the international phenomenon of violence against women, it is a complex, multifaceted phenomenon that takes shape in a particular sociocultural context. The current study employs a narrative framework to systematically examine how culture is expressed in the formal systems response and women's help-seeking in two metropolitan cities in India. Specifically, we sought to understand, among formal system responders (a) what characterizes the dominant cultural narratives on violence against women in India; and (b) how these are reflected in community narratives of formal responders. Interviews were conducted with formal responders working in different types of local agencies (e.g., police, health centers, and non-governmental agencies). The paper illustrates the major themes that emerged from participants' narratives describing the multilevel influences that shape the formal system response to violence against women and women's help-seeking efforts. The implications of these findings for effective response and directions for future research are summarized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican journal of community psychology
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Domestic violence
  • Formal response
  • Help-seeking
  • India
  • Sexual assault
  • Violence against women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'The Formal Systems Response to Violence Against Women in India: A Cultural Lens'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this