Prosecutor General's (PG) Office on Thursday, forwarded charges to the Kanduhulhudhoo Magistrate Court in Gaafu Alif Atoll, over a case of parental neglect.
According to the PG Office, the charges were filed in reference to Article 53 of the 'Special Provisions to Deal with Child Sex Abuse Offenders' (Law No: 12/2009) and Article 414 of the Penal Code. State prosecutors alleged the child's guardians to have failed to inform authorities and not having taken reasonable action to prevent any form of abuse.
PG Office did not share any further details regarding the case.
The number of child sexual abuse related cases reported to authorities has been on the rise since mid-January. The police have made numerous arrests regarding child sexual abuse over the past month.
The sexual abuse case of an 18-month toddler shook the country in January. Outraged citizens gathered in front of the gender ministry criticised the government for its failure to protect children from predators and demanded immediate action, while some called for gender minister Shidhatha Shareef's resignation.
Amidst harsh public criticism over the series of child sexual abuse and paedophilia cases that surfaced since, gender minister Shidhatha Shareef resigned on 6 February. Aishath Mohamed Didi, who was serving as the Ambassador of Maldives to India, was appointed as the new Minister of Gender, Family and Social Services on the same day.
Meanwhile, the new Child Rights Protection Act, ratified late 2019, began its implementation on February 20. The Act outlines the duties of the state, community and parents to protect children's rights, prohibits child marriages, and makes vaccination mandatory. As per the new law, failure to report child abuse is a crime that carries a minimum 2-year jail sentence.