YK Poudel

The number of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Domestic Violence (DV) cases reported to RENEW crisis centres declined last year, according to Respect Educate Nurture and Empower Women (RENEW).

RENEW and Royal Bhutan Police recorded 565 cases last year compared to 751 cases in 2021.

RENEW has received over 3,000 cases in the past four years, mostly related to emotional abuse, economic abuse, physical abuse, and negligence.

With various interventions such as awareness programme and enhanced services from organisations, agencies have been receiving fewer GBV and DV cases over the years.

An official said that services for GBV were enhanced at dzongkhag level from the PEMA Secretariat which could be the reason why organisations were receiving fewer cases now.

According to RENEW report, numerous types of GBV that have been documented result from alcohol abuse, extra-marital affairs, neglect, and economic abuse of the spouse. “The survivors are provided with counselling and shelter services in collaboration with 1010 (toll-free) Pema Secretariat.”

RENEW’s director of programme and services, Meenakshi Rai, said that the reported cases of GBV and DV decreased over the years because people have come to understand the issue and know where to seek help. “RENEW has been facilitating with different service providers in order to ensure that the callers receive the right intervention services.”

She said: “We have helped over 10,000 survivors so far and the number of services provided to these clients totals up to 320,000. Most of them have been reintegrated through livelihood skills training.”

The survivors, she said, are provided with financial literacy and entrepreneurship training. “We provide help in marketing their products and services and re-skilling and up-skilling programmes. Some of them are members of RENEW microfinance.”

RENEW has received 38 cases as of February 2023.

RENEW and volunteers in 20 dzongkhags are working with the Pema Secretariat, Royal Office for Media, and NCWC to ensure prompt shelter and counselling services to the survivors.