Chhimi Dema

From January until July 31 this year, the police recorded 42 cases of violence against children in the country.

There were nine cases of child molestation; 23 cases of rape of a child above 12-year-old; three cases each of child battery and abandonment of dead infant; two cases of illegal abortion; and one case each of abandonment of an infant or a child and child abuse.

Most cases of violence against children go unreported, according to the deputy chief of police, Colonel Passang Dorji.

This, he said, is because the school management solves some of the cases. The people generally are hesitant to report the cases considering them as a domestic issue.

“People hesitate to come to the police and write statements. So, many cases go unreported,” Passang Dorji said.

The police alone do not address the cases related to violence against children. Agencies such as the National Commission for Women and Children, and RENEW are informed to provide psychological help.

Passang Dorji said that these agencies come into the picture to ensure that the children feel safe and protected after traumatic experiences they’ve undergone.

“So far, we have not received many cases of violence against children for a few years ago,” he said. “It is not very alarming, I would say.”

Passang Dorji said that the most common violence against children is bullying and child labour.

Some violence cases in the school could be happening but it is not reported to the police and solved internally with the school management, he said.

Child labour could be an issue among those who live with their relatives and whose parents live far away, Passang Dorji said. “But we don’t get reports of abuse and so we cannot take action against the perpetrator.”

In the past five years, rape of a child above 12-year-old and child molestation was among the most reported cases every year.

The highest case of rape of a child above 12-year-old was seen last year with 56 cases. Child molestation was highest in 2020 with 19 cases.