The Government of Nepal has made the issue of gender-based violence a priority in the emergence from a decade of conflict.
The Government of Nepal adopted a ‘Zero Tolerance policy’ on violence against women and declared 2010 as a year free of gender violence. An Inter-Ministerial Committee on Gender-based Violence was tasked with the implementation of the Plan of Action for the ”Year against Gender Based Violence" 2010.
Civil society groups have noted that the issue carries a high level of political salience, as evidenced by the establishment of a Prime Ministerial Unit, and the formulation and implementation of a National Action Plan along with a National Steering Committee to address gender-based violence.
For the first time, the Gender Equality Bill of 2006 has redefined the definition of rape
to include instances of marital rape, and included it as grounds for divorce, although the maximum penalty for marital rape is still only six months’ imprisonment. This law has also increased the criminal penalties for all other forms of rape to between five and twelve years imprisonment, and allows for the victims to claim compensation for emotional and psychological damage.
However, the Code retained a 35 day statute of limitations on rape claims, which seriously hampers women’s ability to access justice.
In 2009 Nepal passed its first law against domestic violence
: the Domestic Violence and Punishment Act 2065. The act defines domestic violence to include physical, emotional, financial and sexual abuse.
However, criminal sanctions under the law are weak, as the acts fail to recognize serious forms of domestic violence as a crime.
Similarly, NGOs have reported that the Act fails to provide effective power to the police for detaining perpetrators until the issuance of an interim order. Furthermore, the definition of “domestic relationship” does not include former domestic partner. The maximum penalty is 25,000 rupees (US$330) and six months’ imprisonment, punishments that double for repeat offenders.
Police have established dedicated women’s cells in each of the country’s 75 districts, but they had minimal resources and untrained personnel to deal with victims of domestic violence and trafficking.
Supported by the Nepal Peace Trust Fund (NPTF), training centres were established in all five development regions. The objective of these training centres is to educate and raise awareness about United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820. The project also aims to increase women’s representation in the Nepal Police Force and to make the police force more gender sensitive. For example in the Armed Police Force, a gender section was established, which made it easier to deal with cases of sexual and gender-based violence: since 2013, out of 47 complaints for such cases against police force personnel, 38 were penalised.
The Government reports that women’s rights NGOs were active in providing training to police and government officials on domestic violence, and promoting wider awareness of the issue.
However, in practice The US Department of State reports that the government’s efforts to establish the structures necessary to implement the act successfully were uncoordinated and incomplete, and that most domestic violence cases were settled through mediation rather than legal prosecution. 
In addition, the police are often unwilling to treat domestic violence as a criminal offence, even though police directives instruct all officers to treat cases of domestic violence as crimes.
Accurate data on the number of women experiencing domestic violence was also unavailable, but anecdotally, prevalence rates are considered to be high.
The 2011 Demographic Health Survey (DHS) found that overall, 28% of ever-married women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from their husband, while 32% have experienced physical, sexual, and/or emotional violence.
A 2012 government study found that 48% of the rural women surveyed reported experiencing violence in their lifetime, and over a quarter had experienced violence in the past 12 months. Emotional violence (40.4%) was most commonly reported, followed by physical violence (26.8%), sexual violence (15.3%), and economic abuse/violence (8%).
The majority of women surveyed were unaware of any Nepali laws that address gender-based violence. Only 9% of respondents were aware that rape within marriage is illegal, and only 13% were aware of a specific law against domestic violence. Only about one quarter of women (24.8%) were aware of services available to the survivors of gender-based violence.
Studies in Nepal have identified a variety of social factors including economic dependency, and cultural obligation that construct and reinforce male dominance and female subservience so thoroughly that neither the violence nor the failure to complain about it is unusual.
According to the 2006 DHS, when presented with a list of five reasons why a husband may be justified in beating his wife, 23.2% of women and 20.7% of men agreed with at least one reason.
In-depth interviews with a small sample of women by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) found that 25 of the 55 had been beaten by their husbands, and alcohol misuse on the part of the husband was cited as the main trigger for violence.
Elsewhere, the US Department of State reports that conflict over unpaid dowries is also a trigger cited in many cases of domestic violence.
The government has established safe house in 15 districts for immediate services to gender-based violence victims.
Official figures on the prevalence of sexual assault are not available. However, according to the US Department of State human rights report, in the financial year 2012-13, there were 677 cases of rape and 245 cases of attempted rape filed with police; compared with 555 cases of rape and 156 cases of attempted rape in the previous fiscal year.
However, this is likely unrepresentative of the extent of the problem in Nepal, as most rape cases go unreported. The 2011 DHS found that 12% of women age 15-49, and 4.6% of girls aged 15-19 years had experienced sexual violence; with women who are employed for cash are more likely to have ever experienced sexual violence (18%) than women who are employed but not for cash, and women who are not employed (11% each).
And yet the same survey found that 77% of women who had experienced any type of physical or sexual violence had never sought help, including 64% who had never told anyone about the violence. 
Women who have experienced only sexual violence are even less likely to seek help (only 7%).
2012 Government data found that women from lower-caste groups or religious minority groups, widowed, divorced, or separated women, and women living in the hill regions, were significantly more likely to report lifetime experiences of violence.
According to a study by Women For Human Rights, 67% of widows in Nepal are between 20 and 35 years old and have three to four children 
A report by UNFPA notes that women who report sexual violence are often then ostracized for having brought shame onto the family and community, acting as a strong disincentive for women to report sexual assaults.
In addition, a culture of perceived impunity for perpetrators of sexual crimes, as well as poor policing in regard to handling rape cases sensitively and professionally are also disincentives. 
was prohibited by an amendment via the Gender Equality Act 2006
, and the Supreme Court of Nepal has made a Procedural Guideline on Sexual Harassment against Working Women in Cabin Restaurants and Dance bars in 2008.
However, NGOs have noted that the law does not specifically cover sexual harassment that occurs in public vehicles, schools/colleges, roads, offices and other institutions.
According to the United States Department of State, the law is also poorly enforced, and confusion regarding what constitutes sexual harassment means that few cases are reported.
There is no evidence to suggest that female genital mutilation is practised in Nepal.
Acording the US Department of State Nepal is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children who are subjected to forced labour
and sex trafficking
. Nepali women and girls are particularly vulnerable to trafficking to India, the Middle East, and China.
NGOS estimate that between 5,000 and 7,000 Nepali girls are trafficked every year across the border to India, half of which are under the age of 16. 
Two different laws in Nepal control currently human trafficking crime: the Human Trafficking and Transportation (Control) Act, and the Chapter on Human Trafficking of the General Country Code. However, civil society groups have noted that the law’s implementation is hampered by the fact that it fails to include other forms of exploitation such as forced labour or servitude in the definition of trafficking, and does not adequately address issues of compensation, witness protection, repatriation and immigration status of victims.
Overall rates of contraceptive
knowledge and usage are comparable with neighbouring South Asian nations. According to the 2011 DHS, contraceptive knowledge is almost universal.
Among currently married women, 65% report having ever used a modern method of contraception, although only 43% report current use.
Urban women are more likely to use a family planning method than rural women, reflecting wider availability and easier access to methods in urban than in rural areas.
Overall, 27% of married women reported an unmet need for family planning services. In addition, 15%, concentrated among women aged 20-44, had a strong desire to limit the number of children they bore; the remaining 10%, falling primarily in the 15-24 age range, wanted to space the births of their children farther apart.
Women and men have the right to access contraception, and to access information about different family planning methods.
However, implementation of these laws is hampered by poor legal knowledge.
Sexual violence was widely used as a weapon of war by all sides during the 1996-2006 civil conflict
in Nepal, while at the same time, the conflict aggravated women’s and girls existing vulnerability to gender-based violence, including rape and other forms of sexual assault and trafficking, according to UNFPA.
It is difficult to know exactly how many people were affected by sexual violence during the conflict, but UNFPA notes, in one year of the conflict – 2004 – 1040-1200 women are thought to have been raped, abducted, assaulted or killed.
A report by a Spanish think-tank claims that while Maoists were also responsible for sexual violence, in the majority of cases it was perpetrated by government security forces while women accused of having links to the Maoists were in custody or were held up at checkpoints.
is available on request in Nepal.
Additionally, the General Country Code also makes it illegal to cause termination of pregnancy by coercing, threatening, alluring the pregnant woman
; as well as to conduct sex selective abortions.
The 2011 DHS found that only 38% of women age 15-49 believe that abortion in Nepal is legal.
Among women who believe that abortion is legal in Nepal, one-third stated that it is legal for pregnancies up to 12 weeks, and one-fifth stated that it is legal for pregnancies of 18 weeks duration if they were a result of rape or incest. Fewer than 10% of women believed that abortion is legal if the mother’s life is in danger, if the mother has a physical or mental condition that would make a pregnancy a health risk, or if there is a fetal abnormality. Nearly two-fifths of women did not know under what circumstances abortion in Nepal is legal.
The government has criminalized acid attacks. The Chapter on Hurt/ Battery of the General Country Code aims to stop the practice of disfiguring women by throwing acid on them, provides for a punishment of up to 8,000 rupees and imprisonment for two years in the case of maximum damage. These penalties that have been criticized as too low by civil society observers.
 UN Women (2011), p.22  Government of Nepal (2009)  UCL and CREHPA (2013), p.8  An Act to Amend Some Nepal Acts for Maintaining Gender Equality 2063 (2006), Article 2; CEDAW (2010), pp. 24, 103  Muluki Ain (General Code), Chapter on Rape, No.11  Domestic Violence (Offence and Punishment) Act 2009, Art.2(a) and (e)  UCL and CREHPA (2013), p.77  Domestic Violence (Offence and Punishment) Act 2009, Art. 13  US Department of State (2013)  Rana, B. et al, (2013), p. 10-11  US Department of State (2013)  US Department of State (2013)  US Department of State (2013)  UNFPA (2007), US Department of State (2013)  MOHP, New ERA, and Macro International (2011), Table 14.9  Government of Nepal (2012), p.xi  Government of Nepal (2012), Table 3.1  UCL and CREHPA (2013), p.6  MOHP et al (2007), Tables 14.5.1 and 14.5.2  UNFPA (2007), p.6-7 US Department of State (2013)  WOREC (2010)  US Department of State (2013)  MOHP, New ERA, and Macro International (2011), Table 14.3  MOHP, New ERA, and Macro International (2011), Table 14.6  MOHP, New ERA, and Macro International (2011), Table 14.7 Government of Nepal (2012), p.37  Raghubanshi, M. (2013)  UNFPA (2007), p.8  UNFPA (2007), p.8  Muluki Ain (General Code), as amended Chapter on Intention to Sexual Intercourse, No. 1  Verdict and Procedural Guideline from Supreme Court on Sexual Harassment against Working Women in Dance Bars and Dance Restaurants  UCL and CREHPA (2013), p.78  US Department of State (2013)  US Department of State (2013b)  UCL and CREHPA (2013), p.7  UCL and CREHPA (2013), p.7  MOHP, New ERA, and Macro International (2011), Table 7.1; Table 7.2  MOHP, New ERA, and Macro International (2011), Table 7.1; Table 7.2 MOHP, New ERA, and Macro International (2011), Table 7.3  MOHP, New ERA, and Macro International (2011), Table 7.12  US Department of State (2013)  Villellas Ariño (2008), p.7; UNFPA (2007), p.5-6  UNFPA (2007), p.5  Villellas Ariño (2008), p.7  UN (2012)  Muluki Ain (General Code), as amended, Chapter on Homicide, No. 28A  Muluki Ain (General Code), as amended, Chapter on Homicide, No. 28C and 28D  MOHP, New ERA, and Macro International (2011), Table 9.16  MOHP, New ERA, and Macro International (2011), Table 9.16  UCL and CREHPA (2013), p.78