According to statistics on the gender ministry website, child abuse cases have continued to make up the majority of lodged reports.
Within the sphere of child abuse reports, sexual abuse cases were the most reported, with 418 reports in 2017. Some 245 cases of physical abuse and 181 cases of emotional abuse were also reported.
Child abuse and sexual abuse remain key problems in the Maldives, and a mandatory child sex offenders’ registry was published in 2015.
The online registry is mandated by a 2009 law on child sexual abuse prevention.
Local NGO Advocating the Rights of Children previously expressed concern over the “hidden epidemic of child abuse that continues unabated in the country” and noted that many cases of child abuse go unreported every year.
According to a 2009 study by UNICEF, almost one in seven children of secondary school age in the Maldives had been sexually abused at some point in their lives.
The punishment for sexually abusing a child is up to 25 years in prison.