A three-day meeting at the national level on “Multi-Sectoral Services to Respond to Gender-Based Violence in Nepal” kicked off here on Tuesday.

The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens with support from the UN and the Women’s Rehabilitation Centre to review progress, strengthen cooperation and share lessons learnt on the implementation of multi-sectoral services to address gender-based violence, Xinhua news agency reported.

The event is being held at a time when the cases of violence, especially rape, have increased at an alarming rate across the country.

Addressing the inaugural function, Nepali Minister for Women, Children and Senior Citizens Tham Maya Magar said that the government was committed to addressing the gender-based violence at the national, provincial and municipal level by formulating right policies.

“We already have many laws to minimize gender-based violence but implementation really takes a long time. I am hopeful that the conclusions of this meeting will be helpful to formulate policies to minimize violence and to safeguards women’s rights,” Magar said.

Stressing on the need of compliance at all levels, the Minister said that the newly-formed local governments can form a mechanism to protect and promote women.

According to statistics, an average of three rapes is reported in Nepal every day, while the actual number could be higher as many incidents go unreported.

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Nepal Valerie Julliand said that UN agencies were ready to work together with the Nepali government and civil society to combat gender-based violence.

“The multi-sectoral response to gender-based violence will not just help women for recovery and empowerment, but will also help to eradicate poverty and will contribute to the country’s development,” Valerie said.

The national-level meeting will conclude on Thursday.