Woman and Child Protection Unit (WCPU) under Phuentsholing Police Station (PS) has registered 37 cases related to woman and child in 2018 and has arrested 51 suspects. Of the total arrest, 37 were already convicted while few are under trial.
Of the total registered cases, 2 cases were withdrawn, 2 are suicide cases, 6 are Missing of Person (MoP), 17 are cases of battery and Domestic Violence (DV), 3 are cases of deceptive practice, 1 is case of auto stripping, 2 are cases of larceny, 3 are cases of prostitution and 1 case is of rape of a child above 12 years of age.
In 2017, WCPU has registered 34 cases with 32 total arrests. There is an increase in number by 3 cases in 2018, however, RBP said that the increase in number is due to awareness programs created on the importance of reporting such cases to the RBP.
Citing an example of a challenge the unit faces, the official said that in terms of MoP, they need to go through court for the call details from the telecom, so delay while following the procedure may lead to other criminal offense.
“Phuentsholing is a border area so the number of MoP cases is quite high. They don’t report the case immediately which is why it becomes difficult for us to investigate deeper into the case on time”, the official added.
It has also been reported that some MoP cases turn into rape due to late report. Therefore, it is important that the case should be reported at the earliest rather than thinking they are with friends somewhere.
Having to prove child molestation is another challenge as it needs to be proven beyond reasonable doubt, the official said. Likewise, having to deal with domestic violence cases is challenging as most of the men turn out to be the suspect who is also the sole bread earner of the family.
Meanwhile, the official said that training on basic counseling is a must because they lack in how to give counseling to the victims, be it a child or adult women. “We have to be mindful while having to deal with child and women as it can be sensitive. We contact RENEW for any help”, the official added. Though they have a separate room to interrogate child victims, they need training on counseling.
The hospital does inform police whenever an injury is suspicious or if any attempt to suicide is reported in hospital. The official said that aftercare service is must and they keep following-up because they want to make sure that both the suspect and victims are doing well.
Furthermore, the official said that prostitution cases are hard to prove. Once they get a tip-off, they thoroughly investigate and if need be they raid the place.
The hotel and parlor owners have been cooperative, the officials said.
In 2017, 3 cases of prostitution were reported and similarly, 3 cases in 2017 were reported. The official said that if the owners are found guilty of involvement in a prostitution case, their licenses will be forwarded to trade and action will be taken as per the judgment.
Though the owner says that they are innocent but if circumstantial evidence point towards them than they will be dealt as per the law, the official added. In 2017 and 2018, the license of 5 hotels and 2 parlors were submitted to trade for further action.
The official said that they want to build confidence in public so that they can trust the police and their service fully so as to make them come forward in any woman and child-related crimes. They conduct awareness within their community and also in other public areas.