Local NGO 'Women & Democracy' on Tuesday launched a special helpline for victims of domestic and gender-based violence.
Supported by the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, the hotline +960 9494869 will be in operation from 0900 to 1700 hrs throughout the week except Fridays.
Women & Democracy stated that the helpline aims to increase access to help for victims, further reporting of domestic and gender-based violence cases, and ensure justice.
The founder and president of Women & Democracy, Safaath Ahmed noted that the helpline service is free, and assured full confidentiality.
Women & Democracy will further provide psychological first aid via the helpline to individuals experiencing mental health issues during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The NGO's helpline comes amidst a renewed surge of reported sexual assault, abuse and harassment cases in Maldives. Several protests have been held over the past few weeks to demand that perpetrators and authorities be held accountable and justice ensured for victims and survivors.
Meanwhile, public ire continues to increase over the government's meagre record of arresting and convicting perpetrators of sexual offences despite several promises to support the rights of children and women.
Moreover, a collective of gender equality advocates originating from Family Legal Clinic (FLC), Nufoshey and Uthema Maldives recently launched the #FundOurSafety initiative, voicing demands to declare rape and sexual offences as serious criminal offences and reallocate state funds for the protection of victims.