Children in Bhutan are growing up in a complex world because of economic development, rapid modernization and increased urbanization. They face new challenges as the traditional layers of protection offered by families and communities are weakened, in some cases because of separation, divorce, stress or violence. At the same time, traditional practices such as child marriage and corporal punishment continue to place children at risk.
About every 6 out of 10 children in Bhutan have experienced some form of physical violence. Parents, teachers, adult caregivers and peers are among common perpetrators of violence. About 12 per cent of children experience sexual violence and nearly 50 per cent of children report experiencing emotional violence.
Children rarely report violence faced by them and don’t seek help due to embarrassment, fear of retaliation, and the lack of knowledge about how to report and seek help.
Verbal sexual harassment is commonly experienced by girls as well as boys. Children's exposure to pornography and access to the internet also make them vulnerable to online abuse. Girls continue to enter early unions before they turn adults.
Child labour, albeit seasonal in most cases, is known to be prevalent. Substance abuse among children and adolescents remains a critical concern in the country.