Tackling domestic violence

The Royal Bhutan Police recorded almost 2,500 domestic violence cases in the past five years. According to the police, despite the increasing trend over the years, the numbers are not alarming. The police is working closely with RENEW, a civil society organisation, to provide services to domestic violence survivors apart from instituting women and child protection units across the country.    

According to records maintained by the RBP’s eight divisions across the country, 2,481 domestic violence cases were reported from 2019 till the end of March, this year.

2019 recorded 421 cases, 2020 saw 476 cases, while 2021 and 2022 saw 574 and 817 cases reported respectively. The first three months of this year alone saw 193 cases reported.

The Royal Bhutan Police has separate women and child protection units and desks across the country to receive domestic violence-related cases.

According to the Deputy Chief for the RBP’s Crime and Operations Division, Colonel Passang Dorji, women and child protection units are open in Thimphu, Paro, and Phuentshogling since these districts have the highest number of domestic violence cases.

Similarly, other districts have women and child protection desks. The women and child protection desk will also be instituted in the districts, which do not have them.

According to the colonel, these units and desks will also look after domestic violence cases where men are the victims.

The RBP forwards domestic violence cases to RENEW for shelter and counselling services if needed. The RBP also receives cases from RENEW.

The police sends mentally disturbed survivors to trained counsellors in RENEW and the National Commission for Women Children.

The cases involving children are also referred to trained counsellors in hospitals and schools.

According to RENEW, the increasing number of cases is a good sign since it shows that people are coming forward to report and avail themselves of the support services on offer. RENEW says most cases go unreported.

According to RENEW, they first see if the case is of criminal nature, which is forwarded to the police.

If the case is not of criminal nature, RENEW starts mediation and intervention, which includes counselling and support services.

RENEW has community service centres in Phuentsholing, Punakha, Paro, Tsirang, and Bumthang. Other districts have trained volunteers who can give support services.

Tashi Yangden

Edited by Sherub Dorji

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