Almost seven months after Thimphu police charged a 24-year-old woman from Wangduephodrang on eight counts of brawling and battery offences, court officials are still waiting for a response from agencies that look into women issues.

After psychiatrists from the national referral hospital diagnosed her with having an anti-social personality disorder, Thimphu dzongkhag court officials had written to the National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) and NGO Respect, Educate, Nurture, Empower Women (RENEW) earlier this month to intervene and either provide shelter or rehabilitate the woman.

It was learnt that the woman, who police charged for a second degree felony, had repeatedly come into conflict with the law and in an earlier case, she was acquitted after medical reports stated that she was suffering from chronic psychotic and borderline personality disorders.

Court officials said they had sent the accused for a thorough medical review since psychiatrists had diagnosed the suspect with mental disorder. “Both Dr Chencho and Dr Nirola have issued a joint report this time stating her medical condition,” a court official said. “The doctors also stated that there is no psychiatric treatment within the country and abroad for such patients.”

RENEW’s counselling department head, Karma Choden, said RENEW has consulted NCWC and that they will provide counselling and other social support if the accused’s mental health is stable.

She said that the accused has been RENEW’s beneficiary and she even stayed in the RENEW shelter for more than three months. “But because she has this disorder that she cannot cope with others, keeping her in the shelter poses a risk and threat to others using the shelter and also to the staff.”

Karma Choden said that while it is disheartening that no agency in the country  has the professional capacity to handle such cases, the accused definitely needs psychiatric intervention.

NCWC director, Kunzang Lhamu, said that they are exploring means to support the accused but it is difficult since there is no service available in the country to handle such cases.

The woman is currently being held at the Thimphu detention centre.

Tashi Dema