Domestic Violence (DV) has emerged as the most prevalent crime recorded this year at the three police stations in Thimphu. A total of 187 instances of DV have been reported, with the central police station accounting for 95 cases, followed by 70 cases at the south police station and 22 cases at the north police station.
According to officials from the police stations, the majority of DV cases are minor and resolved amicably with the consent of the victims, but any case involving life-threatening circumstances cannot be compromised and require more focus.
In Bhutan, about 3 in 10 women aged 15-49 years that had ever been partnered are likely to experience at least one form of a specific type of intimate partner violence (IPV) in their lifetime. The main forms of IPV likely to be experienced are emotional and physical.
In addition, about 1 in 3 women are likely to experience at least one act of violence of any form by non-partner from the age of 15.
Further approximately 6 in 10 ever partnered women aged 15-49 years are likely to be subjected to economic abuse by their intimate partner.
Rural women are more likely than urban women to experience violence. A considerable section of women believe it is acceptable for them to be subject to violence by intimate partner.
For women who have experienced violence and abuse, mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide ideation are on the rise.
For many women, it seems that a violent incident gets triggered for no particular reason. For some, the main situation leading to violence are when the partner faces difficulties at work, has financial problems, is drunk, is jealous or any of the partner having extra-marital affairs.
Mental health and well being is a priority on a national level. The PEMA Secretariat deals with supports related to mental health issues faced by any individual. The RENEW (Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women) also provide support to vulnerable women and their families, mainly in rural areas.
Following closely behind domestic violence, larceny or theft or personal property has been the second-highest registered crime, with 44 reported instances at the central police station. Most of these cases occur in active development areas, such as workshops and building sites. Authorities are urging residents to take better care of their possessions and exercise caution to prevent such incidents.
In addition to larceny, the central police station has also recorded 20 burglaries, 13 cases of fraudulent practices, 7 gaming crimes, and 7 harassment cases.
Meanwhile, the south police station has reported a relatively higher number of missing people and car theft cases compared to other stations. Investigations have revealed that many vehicle stripping incidents occur while the perpetrators are under the influence of alcohol, harboring resentments, or acting randomly.
Under Section 158 of the Penal Code of Bhutan, a defendant can be charged with the offense of battery if they purposefully use physical force against another person. The offense of battery is categorized as a petty misdemeanor or a misdemeanor, depending on the presence of aggravated circumstances.
Similarly, a defendant can be charged with the offense of larceny if they take or move someone else’s property without their consent, with the intent to deprive the owner or appropriate the property for themselves or a third party. The offense of larceny is subject to value-based sentencing.
Lastly, the offense of auto stripping, which involves removing, destroying, or defacing any part of a motor vehicle, is also subject to value-based sentencing.