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Domestic violence cases spike in third quarter of 2020

Shahudha Mohamed
29 October 2020, MVT 20:19
A poster by demonstrators protesting against rape and sexual assault. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
29 October 2020, MVT 20:19

Family Protection Agency (FPA), on Tuesday, revealed that the number of domestic violence cases reported to the agency spiked in the third quarter of 2020.

According to statistics publicised by FPA, a total of 242 cases, including those involving children, were submitted to the authority from July to the end of September.

The cases also include 115 reports of violence against women and 35 reports of violence against men. Moreover, 67 cases concerning underaged girls and 25 cases concerning underaged boys were submitted during this period as well, in addition to 11 cases where the victim’s gender was not disclosed.

In comparison to the first three months of the year, fewer cases were reported in 2020’s second quarter with a total of 151 cases, including 79 cases of violence against women, 13 cases of violence against men and 53 cases of child abuse.

The first quarter saw a total of 158 reports of domestic violence, involving 139 cases lodged against men and 30 cases lodged against men.

Earlier in June, Minister of Gender, Family and Social Services Aishath Mohamed Didi had confirmed that the number of domestic violence cases reported in Maldives saw an increase with the easing of certain lockdown measures at the end of May.

Globally, alarm has been raised over the higher incidence of domestic violence and gender-based violence amid COVID-19 lockdown measures and movement restrictions, with several vulnerable individuals forced to remain in at-risk environments.

Since the beginning of the year, public ire has grown considerably, regarding the government's meagre record of arresting and convicting sexual offenders, despite numerous promises to protect the rights of children and women.

In July, a collective of gender equality advocates, originating from Family Legal Clinic (FLC), Nufoshey and Uthema Maldives, launched the #FundOurSafety initiative, voicing a list of demands including the establishment of shelters and reallocation of state funds for the protection of victims.

According to 'The Maldives Study on Women’s Health and Life Experiences' conducted by the Gender Ministry in 2006, one in three women and girls have reported experiencing either physical or sexual violence, or both, at least once during their lifetime.

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