The Ministry of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens has developed a standard for expenditure of conditional grants provided to all local levels for the establishment and expansion of Gender Based Violence Prevention Fund.

The standard recently issued by the MoWCSC aims to distribute relief amount to victims of GBV victims in a simple, easy and uniform manner in line with Gender Based Violence Prevention Fund (Operation) Regulations-2019.

According to the standard, the Government of Nepal has already allocated Rs 7.53 million as token money to the local levels for establishment and expansion of the fund. An official at the MoWCSC said the amount was provided to the 753 local levels at the rate of Rs 10,000 each.

The standard requires local levels to manage the necessary amount for the fund through its annual budget and programme.

Likewise, international organisations working in Nepal for the 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.

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 victims. "The local level concerned may also use the amount available in the fund if a perpetrator convicted of GBV cannot pay the victim compensation ordered by the court due to his/her financial condition," said the official.

The local level may provide a victim up to Rs 50,000 depending on the gravity of the GBV. "A GBV victim is required to submit an application by herself or through a representative to the local level concerned, setting out the reason of need for relief or financial assistance," reads the standard published on the website of the MoWCSC.

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.

A 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 of women above 15 years of age experienced physical violence in their lifetime.

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

A version of this article appears in the print on February 10, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.