National Commission of Women and Children (NCWC) registered 162 different cases in 2021 as of now, of which 61 cases are related to Gender Based Violence (GBV). The statistic with the NCWC shows that of the total registered survivor, 8 are male while 53 are female.
Likewise, in 2020 they registered 123 GBV related cases whereby 8 are male survivor while 115 are female. In 2019, NCWC registered 85 cases of GBV with 9 male survivors and 76 female survivors.
The statistic shows an increase in number of GBV cases every year. There is an increase in number by 38 cases in 2020. The lockdown in 2019 could be one cause for drastic increase in number of cases that year in particular.
The GBV cases are physical abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse and sexual abuse. Every year, emotional abuse contributed the highest followed by physical abuse. Sexual abuse was reported the least with zero case sometime. However, in 2021 they have reported three sexual abuse cases.
It was learnt that 90 percent of the survivor of GBV cases are from destitute families while the 10 percent are from the vulnerable population. The cited reasons of GBV cases are economic issue in family, extra marital affairs and addiction to alcohol.
An official from NCWC said that the case registration is increasing due to better reach of services and awareness on GBV. However, they have lots of challenging in addressing those registered cases.
“The biggest challenge we face at the moment is fund support. We do not have dedicated fund for this and to meet the financial expenditure, we try to adjust from other programs from within the commission,” he added.
Likewise, the other challenges are lack of coordination when it comes to safety and protection of the survivors, not able to provide proper shelter for those who need to be kept in shelter for longer period of time and the survivors not getting access to better opportunity after their skills training programs.
One challenge they come across is having to attend to a case at an odd hour because GBV related cases happens usually at late hours, he said, adding that they sometime have an issue of accessibility due to long distances.
He said, “A person who is alcohol/drug addict is vulnerable to anything anytime. No family member will want to have them under their custody. So this puts us in difficult situation to take them under our custody. We have an issue of shelters as well.”
There is concern of a safety of children if parents at home keep having GBV issues and if they are alcoholics.
The cases are received from different agencies whereby the first process they follow is assisting the case and its severity. They forward the case directly to police if there are criminal offences involved.
However, he said, “It is difficult to get emotional and economic abuse related cases registered in police since it does not come with physical abuse (cases of battery). We also have challenge in legal representation.”
Guidelines to give legal representation to the survivors is under way and the implementation might start by end of this year, he added.
Meanwhile, Chairperson of NCWC, Lyonpo Tandi Dorji said that there is an increase in GBV this time as with pandemic situation and this happened worldwide. “People have lost their jobs and there are other issues which have caused frustration in the family,” Lyonpo added.
He said that the government has put measures and guidelines in place to tackle all these issues and they will identify focal person in villages to create more awareness programs in addressing GBV issues in the country.
However, Lyonpo said that they are hoping that GBV related cases might go down when the pandemic situation gets better with time. “We need to advocate to people and make the services available starting from gewog level to national level,” he said.
“All levels of government should work together to ensure that the advocacy programs are reached to far flung areas,” he added.