KP Sharma

Bhutan has experienced an increase in sexual violence cases for the year 2023 compared to the previous year.

In 2022, the police recorded 112 cases, while in 2023, the number increased to 137, reflecting a rise of 25 cases or 22.32 percent.

Two categories of sexual violence cases, namely child molestation and gang rape involving a child below 12 years old, witnessed an increase in 2023.

The police recorded 77 instances of gang rape of a child below 12 years in 2023, showing an alarming rise. Child molestation cases increased from 15 in 2022 to 19 in 2023.

While a few other offences experienced an increase, the numbers rose modestly, and the surge was not significant.

While some categories of sexual offences shot up, many others witnessed a decline in 2023 compared to the cases reported in 2022.

Police authorities attribute this overall decline to heightened awareness and the robust implementation of stringent measures by relevant agencies dedicated to addressing the issue.

Instances of sexual offences such as rape of a child above 12 years of age, sexual harassment, rape of a married person, statutory rape, and indecent exposure, among others, decreased in 2023.

According to police records, there were 75 rape cases recorded across the country in 2021 an increase of more than 41 percent of cases reported in 2020.

Thimphu registered the highest with 25 cases in 2023, although it indicated a decrease compared to the previous year, which recorded 29 cases.

Samtse documented 14 cases, with Gelephu and Samdrupjongkhar closely following with 13 cases each.

Trashiyangtse reported the least number of cases, with two, although it indicated a slight increase by one case compared to the single case recorded in 2022.

While Punakha, Mongar, Wangdue, and Bumthang saw offences increase, Paro, Phuentsholing, Tsirang, Trongsa, and Trashigang observed a decrease in reported cases.

To report violence against women and children or to seek help for yourself or someone else, call 1098 at The PEMA Secretariat, write to, or go to The PEMA website and click “report a case”.