ARC expresses concern about the hidden epidemic of child abuse that continues unabated in the Maldives

Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC) is deeply concerned about the hidden epidemic of child abuse that continues unabated in the country and calls on all individuals and institutions to take a more vigilant stand to protect children.

From January to June this year, a total of 399 cases of child abuse have been reported to the Maldives Police Service (MPS) – a significant increase compared to 2014, which saw a total of 423 cases reported for the whole year. These numbers merely represent cases reported to the MPS, whilst many more cases go unreported every year. ARC wishes to reiterate that it is a grave injustice to withhold information regarding cases of child abuse, and also a failure to fulfil a citizen’s legal responsibility. ARC calls on the community to break the culture of silence and to report suspected abuse, in order to protect children from all forms of violence and abuse.

ARC also remains deeply concerned about the insufficiencies in the child protection system in the country. Vulnerable children still continue to be unprotected due to systematic flaws in the legal, judicial and social sectors tasked with the promotion and protection of the rights of the child in Maldives. ARC urges the Government to expedite the passage of the new and updated Child Protection Act, currently in its drafting stages, while ensuring that provisions and principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child are fully reflected in the new Act.

ARC believes that protecting children from abuse should become a national priority, and also urges the community to get involved by remembering the “4 R’s: Raising Awareness, Recognizing Signs, Reporting Abuse and Reaching Out”. Easy access to useful information on how to help children Heal, the importance of Outreach, ways to Prevent abuse and how to Empower children against abuse is available on the HOPE Campaign website