RENEW (Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women) has proposed to strengthen partnership with the Royal Bhutan Police to curb domestic violence in the country.
RENEW’s Director for Community Outreach Department, Dr. Meenakshi Rai said though the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) has been working in close collaboration with police so far, signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) formally would further strengthen the partnership between the two organizations in reducing cases of domestic violence cases.
She added that RENEW, a non-profit organization dedicated to the relief and empowerment of disadvantaged women and adolescent girls in Bhutan, and RBP will soon sign an MOU.
The Director said that both organizations have been working together in serving the communities through advocacy programs and creating awareness to the people. But certain challenges faced by the NGO restrict it to deal with the cases where the involvement of RBP is deemed necessary.
RENEW, meanwhile, is prohibited to deal with criminal cases, according to Article 22 of Domestic Violence Protection Act 2013, which states: “If the offence is of misdemeanor and below, and the defendant is not a recidivist, a police personnel may release the defendant on surety if detained or may allow the matter to be settled mutually if the victim so desires, considering the nature and circumstance of the offence; the frequency and severity of the abuse; the age, maturity and state of mind of the victims; the reparation of the injury and compensation to the victim, the safety of the family; or/and the best interest of the victim.”
The Act also prohibits such organizations to mediate and resolve the issues where involvement of the police is mandatory. However, police sometimes refer civil cases to RENEW for resolution and mediation.
Sharing the challenges faced by the NGO, Dr. Meenakshi Rai said collaboration with the police would make clear the legal formalities while dealing with domestic violence cases.
“RENEW wants clarity on the type of cases that the organization can take up. There are certain cases which only the police can handle. Sometimes it conflicts. So we want to collaborate with the police and sort out while dealing with the cases,” she added. “RENEW wants to abide by the nation’s law while dealing with domestic violence cases. So signing a MoU would segregate the type of cases the organization could handle and provide necessary supports. The organization wishes to work mutually with the police without conflict.”
Police Chief Chimi Dorji said RBP is willing to sign an MoU and would be working in close collaboration with RENEW.
He said since there are numerous cases of violence, NGOs such as RENEW and National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) would ease the police in solving criminal cases.
“Since domestic violence cases are mostly civil, letting such organizations to resolve unless they are criminal, would let us to work more on other criminal cases. It’s a wise approach and we are looking forward to collaborating with them,” the Police Chief said.
Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing