Local levels told to establish fund for GBV victims

Kathmandu, January 26

The Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens has urged the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration to coordinate with the local levels to establish and operate Gender Based Violence Prevention Fund.

The second amendment to Gender Based Violence Prevention Fund (Operation) Regulations-2019 stipulates provision of the fund to make it consistent with the constitutional provisions.

Article 38 of the constitution states that no woman shall be subjected to physical, mental, sexual, psychological or other forms of violence or exploitation on grounds of religion, social, cultural tradition, practice or on any other grounds. Such act shall be punishable by law, and the victim shall have the right to obtain compensation in accordance with the law.

In response to a letter from the MoWCSC, the MoFAGA yesterday issued a circular to the local levels, directing them to act accordingly. As per the regulations, each local level shall have to set up the fund. The amount credited to the fund shall be used for immediate rescue and medical treatment of GBV victims, and for providing relief and financial support.

Similarly, the amount of the dedicated fund can be spent to provide legal aid, psychological treatment and psycho-social counselling services, and rehabilitate the victims. “The local level concerned may also use the amount available in the fund if a perpetrator convicted of GBV cannot pay the victim a compensation ordered by the court due to his/her financial condition,” the regulations say.

As per the new provision, local levels are required to allocate certain amount from their annual budget and programme for operation of the fund. Likewise, international organisations working in Nepal for interest of women and children shall also credit a certain percentage of their annual budget to the fund as prescribed by the MoWCSC. The local levels should open an account of the fund in any commercial bank.

According to a recent report of Nepal Health Sector Support Programme, GBV cuts across caste, ethnicity, class, and socio-economic status and is prevalent in all geographical settings, in different forms and magnitudes. Large number of women and children in Nepal experience GBV resulting in physical, sexual and psychological damage to the victims. The Nepal Demographic and Health Survey-2016 found that more than 22 per cent women above 15 years of age experienced physical violence, 26 per cent of married women experienced spousal violence, either physical, sexual or emotional, and 66 per cent never told anyone about their experiences.

GBV includes acts that inflict physical, mental or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty.