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Sri Lanka

Population Size:

21,430,507 [1]

Number of people experiencing domestic abuse each year:

Sri Lanka police reported a daily average of 60 complaints of domestic violence in 2018.

The Demographic and Health Survey of 2016 found that nearly one in every five ‘ever-married’ women interviewed reported experiencing intimate partner violence in the previous year.

A WHO review in 2018 found that IPV ranged from 18-72% in different populations and geographic areas of Sri Lanka. [2]

No research on male victims or other gender identities.

Cost of domestic abuse to the economy each year:

No research available

Estimated % change due to COVID-19:

No specific evidence but the literature refers to a general increase due to the lockdown.

Current law and policy:

In 2005 Sri Lanka passed its Prevention of Domestic Violence Act and adopted a Plan of Action for its implementation. The law does not provide for additional criminal offences, but offers a civil remedy in the form of protection orders which may be sought by or on behalf of aggrieved persons. Implementation appears to have remained difficult to achieve in practice, and a later National Action Plan relating to Human Rights reiterated commitments to implement the 2005 Plan of Action.

In 2005 Sri Lanka passed its Prevention of Domestic Violence Act.[3] It was accompanied by a dedicated Plan of Action, setting out strategies and specific activities that aimed to facilitate awareness of the Act, develop and strengthen prevention and service provision and to ensure a coordinated response to domestic violence.[4] These aims were built upon in the 2011 - 2016 National Action Plan for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights, which included strategies focussed on the reduction of violence against women. This included a reiterated commitment to implement the Plan of Action supporting the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PDOMESTIC VIOLENCEA).[5] Domestic Violence and other forms of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) remain particularly prevalent in northern parts of Sri Lanka affected by years of civil war.[6]



[1] Worldometer, “Sri Lanka Population (Live)”, (