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Maldives ministry stats show rising child sexual abuse



The gender ministry’s monthly statistics of reported cases have shown a drop from 260 cases in July to 246 in August, despite a rise in cases of child sexual abuse.

According to the ministry, 131 out of the 246 cases in August were connected to different forms of child abuse.

Child abuse cases have continued to make up the highest percentage of reports lodged with the ministry for the past three months.

In June and July, child abuse cases took up 51 percent and 48 percent of the total reported cases at the ministry.

Despite an overall drop in reports in August, cases of sexual abuse increased to around 37 compared to 32 in July and 18 in June.

Other reports related to child abuse in August included 32 physical abuse cases, 33 cases of negligence, 24 cases of emotional abuse, two cases of witnessing domestic violence and three cases of bullying.

Behavioural problems connected to children were also reported with six different cases in assault, stealing, drug use and drug dealing.

Apart from cases of child abuse, the ministry received reports of 36 cases of gender-based violence and domestic violence in August.

While child abuse and sexual abuse remain key challenges in the Maldives, a mandatory child sex offenders registry was published for the first time in November 2015.

The online registry came after a five-year delay and currently lists more than 70 individuals with their photos, full names, national identity card numbers, date of birth, age, address, date of conviction, date of imprisonment, date of scheduled release and name of the detention centre the individual is being held.

The online registry is mandated by a 2009 law on child sexual abuse prevention.

Local NGO Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC) previously expressed concern with the “hidden epidemic of child abuse that continues unabated in the country”.

ARC 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 child sexual abuse is jail terms up to 25 years.