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Sexual Violence in Nepal

Protection gaps in rape laws and barriers to accessing justice continue to lead to effective denial of justice for survivors of sexual violence in South Asia, including in Nepal.

There has been a sharp increase in reported cases of rape in Nepal in recent years, with 2230 rape cases reported to the police in the fiscal year 2018-19, and 2144 cases of rape recorded in the fiscal year 2019-20. This is more than double the number of rape cases which were reported in 2014-15 (981 cases), with each year since 2014 seeing a steady increase in the number of reported cases. Even the latest figures are likely to be lower than the true number, as data from the Nepal Demographic and Health Survey demonstrates that 7% of all women and girls aged 15-49 across the country have reported facing sexual violence in their lifetime.

The critical issue of sexual violence has received more attention from the public and policy makers in Nepal in recent times, with widespread protests overtaking the country in 2018 after the rape and murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta. Despite the growing awareness of the issue, however, sufficient attention has not yet been given to the intersectional forms of discrimination faced by survivors of sexual violence from communities marginalized based on caste, ethnicity, or religion, including Dalits, Terai, Madhesi, and Muslim communities in Nepal. Though there is a lack of caste-disaggregated data on rape, reports from independent organizations show that the scale of violence against Dalit women and girls remains significantly high in Nepal.

Download the full factsheet on legal and other barriers to justice for survivors in Nepal.

The information on this page is derived from Sexual Violence in South Asia: Legal and Other Barriers to Justice for Survivors, jointly published by Equality Now and Dignity Alliance International in April 2021.