Violence against children increased in the Maldives in February despite an overall drop in the number of reported cases, statistics have shown.
The monthly figures published Tuesday by the Ministry of Gender and Family say the number of reported cases fell from 224 in January to 210 in February.
Last month, 117 out of the total cases were connected to violence against children. This was 56 percent of the reported cases. This figure was 94 out of 210 in January, comprising 42 percent of total cases.
The most frequently reported cases in January and February were physical abuse and sexual abuse.
There were 44 cases of child sexual abuse in February compared to 20 such cases the previous month. Some 30 cases of physical abuse of children were reported in February down, from 42 in January.
Other reports in February include 18 cases of neglect, nine cases of emotional abuse, five cases of cyberbullying, five cases of harassment, three cases of abandonment and three cases of witnessing domestic violence.
Gender ministry statistics for 2017 confirmed a rise in child sex abuse cases, with more than 400 such cases reported last year.
Child abuse and sexual abuse remain key problems in the Maldives, and a mandatory child sex offenders’ registry was published in 2015.
The punishment for sexually abusing a child is up to 25 years in prison.