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257 cases in Oct, 135 concerning child abuse: Gender Ministry

Mariyam Malsa
19 November 2020, MVT 12:22
Protestors gather on the streets of Male' City, against all forms of sexual violence and to hold perpetrators and the authorities accountable, on June 29, 2020. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI / MIHAARU
Mariyam Malsa
19 November 2020, MVT 12:22

The Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services, on Thursday, revealed that a total of 257 cases were received and attended by the ministry during October 2020.

According to monthly statistics publicised by the ministry, 135 cases were submitted regarding violence perpetrated against children. Instances of negligence were noted to be the most frequently reported with 43 cases brought to the attention of authorities throughout the month. The remainder of reports included 24 cases of physical abuse, 15 cases of witness to domestic violence and nine cases of emotional abuse.

As per the gender ministry, there were 206 children currently under state care as of October.

Notably the ministry also recorded 40 cases of gender-based and domestic violence in October, the majority of which consisted of physical abuse with 20 reports. The remaining cases include 11 cases of emotional abuse, three cases of intimidation and two cases each of sexual abuse, rape and neglect.

Furthermore, the ministry also received and attended to seven cases involving self-harm and suicidal behavior.

Earlier in June, Gender Minister 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 lifetimes.

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