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Sunday, 15 September 2013

Bhutan - RENEW’s challenges in absence of law on domestic violence

Bhutan - RENEW’s challenges in absence of law on domestic violence

dOMESTICvIOLENCEWith no specific law to address women-related issues particularly domestic violence, RENEW faces challenges while providing assistance to the vulnerable women.
The Domestic Violence Prevention Bill went through rigorous consultations with various stakeholders and most importantly all issues and concerns raised by the stakeholders who would actually help in implementation of the bill if it is enacted.”
Sonam Penjor
Officiating Chief  Programme Officer,

RENEW is seeing an increasing number of victims of domestic violence. In 2010, over 300 cases of were registered with the organisation. The figure rose to 450 in 2011. RENEW is a non-profit organisation dedicated to empowerment of women in the country.

“RENEW being the only organisation is faced with tremendous financial constraint.  If state takes the responsibility of providing the shelter services, it will ease the problem we face organisationally,” said the Executive Director of RENEW, Chimi Wangmo.
According to the Domestic Violence Prevention Bill each Dzongkhag should at least have  one safe house.
One of the challenges, RENEW is battling, is a set of preconceived notions. “Many people think that domestic violence is not a social issue but a private affair,” said the Executive Director. She said when victims seek assistance from RENEW, the abusers consider it an interference.  She said having legislation will address many of the challenges.

NCWC drafts the Domestic Violence Prevention Bill the bill in 2010
The bill redrafted in 2011
National assembly discusses the bill in the 9th session of parliament
Lower House enacts the bill and sends it for deliberation to the National Council

Another challenge the organisation faces is ensuring maximum protection and security of the victim. “Domestic Violence Prevention Bill is crucial to address such issue,” Chimi Wangmo.