Domestic violence aggravated by COVID pandemic

Health National News

Adding to the long list problems that the pandemic has put the country through, domestic violence cases have started pouring in from different corners of the country.

As per the Respect, Educate, Nurture, and Empower Women (RENEW) data, there has been a surge in the number of domestic violence cases in Bhutan. According to their record, in 2019 there were 230 cases reported while this year between January and April, 97 domestic violence complaints had been registered. Compared to statistics from 2019 and 2020 in the month of January to April there is an increase of 22 cases this year.

The statistics is recorded based on Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Economic Abuse, and Non- Domestic violence or Gender-based violence.

Looking at the records this year most of the domestic violence cases are emotional abuse with 57 being recorded till the month of April.

An official from RENEW said that the number of reported cases has increased as compared to last year. “Loss of job or decrease in income, constant proximity to partners and children, and stress can be the common reasons.”

Further, the official also said that during the current emergency brought about by COVID-19; home is considered the safest place. However, during such pandemic, domestic violence cases are likely to increase due to stress brought about by long hours of curfew and disruption to normal life and freedom it entails.

“Stress, health outcomes and economic pressure could lead to an increase in domestic violence and child abuse,” the official added.

RENEW earnestly request the general public to show restraint, follow the principles of Buddhism such as compassion, empathy, and practice mindfulness.   

For anyone facing some kind of Domestic Violence can contact RENEW immediately for counseling services. If required, RENEW also helps facilitate services of the Multi-Sectoral Task Force (MSTF) and Community Based Support System (CBSS), National Commission For Women And Children (NCWC), and  Royal Bhutan Police in districts.

Sonam Tashi from Thimphu

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