The National Women and Children Commission (NCWC) has set up a dzongkhag level women and child welfare committee.

The committee was approved during the 162nd cabinet meeting on June 19, last year.

The committee, officials say, is expected to provide timely and effective response to women and children in difficult circumstances and children in conflict with the law.

The commission held a sensitisation programme on the roles and responsibilities of the committee members in Trashigang yesterday.

The committee, headed by the dzongdag, would facilitate the implementation of the Child Care and Protection Act 2011, Domestic Violence Prevention Act 2013 and Child Adoption Act 2012.

The committee would recommend and coordinate with agencies and organisations to respond to the needs of women and children.

NCWC director, Kunzang Lhamu, said the committee would be a well-coordinated system in the dzongkhags that would monitor, assess and submit information on women and child protection issues to the competent authority.

NCWC officials, during the workshop, shared that violence against women is a rural phenomenon.

Officials said 40.4 percent of the violence against women was recorded in rural areas against 25.2 percent in the urban areas.

“So far, most of the time cases happening in the rural pockets of the country were referred to the NCWC based in Thimphu,” an official said.

Kunzang Lhamu said the committee would recommend and monitor the progress of the cases and submit information to the competent authority through the central management information system (CMIS).

Launched on September 27, 2017, CMIS is an online case referral and management system, a central repository for women and children in difficult circumstances.

The online system is aimed towards building a sustainable women and child protection system by keeping a record on women and child protection issues.

Officials said that without such programme in place, one of the major challenges faced by the commission in the past was lack of disaggregated data on women and child protection issues.

With detailed data in place, they said, evidence-based planning would ensure the effective implementation of any initiative to address this rising issue and also in the establishment of comprehensive women and child protection system.

Meanwhile, participants were also sensitised on the women and child helpline, 1098, which was launched on October 11 last year.

The toll-free helpline was launched to strengthen the provision of timely, efficient and effective protection services and to provide services such as counselling, legal information and instant facilitation and referrals around the clock.

Younten Tshedup  | Trashigang