Govt fails to ensure protection to domestic violence victims

Kathmandu, December 26

Despite court orders to protect the victims of domestic violence, it has been found that most victims don’t receive any kind of protection from the authorities.

Section 6 of Domestic Violence (Offence and Punishment) Act  states that if the court has reason to believe, on the basis of preliminary investigation of the complaint that the victim needs to be given immediate protection, it may do so till the time a final decision on the complaint is made. It also states that the victim should be allowed to continue to live in the shared house and s/he should be provided food and clothes.

The act states that necessary arrangements should be made for the perpetrator to stay separately, if living together poses a threat to the victim.

A study conducted in five districts — Morang, Makawanpur, Lalitpur, Banke and Nawalparasi — shows that out of 17 cases of domestic violence in which the court ordered protection of the victim, only seven received protection from the authorities. Likewise, only nine victims in 18 cases related to sexual violence received protection.

“One of the many reasons the victims of domestic violence don’t get protection is lack of government-run shelter homes,” shared advocate Meera Dhungana. As a result, victims have no option, but to return to the place where they were victimised.  “We had been allocating Rs 600,000 to each shelter home in mountainous region, Rs 700,000 for hilly region and 800,000 for Tarai region. However, we have not been able to release the budget now as the rules on elimination of gender violence need to be changed,” shared Sindhu Pathak, joint secretary at the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens.

In the last fiscal, 838 complaints of violence were registered with the National Women Commission.