National Conference on Domestic Violence Protection Act concludes

Hope for Women and the Gender Advocacy Working Group (GAWG) have today concluded the National Conference on Domestic Violence Protection Act.

Relevant stakeholders gathered to discuss the implementation of the law, with GAWG consultant Humaida Abdul Ghafoor concluding that, while there had been slow progress, there was still “a long way to go”.

The workshop was conducted as part of the global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign, which concludes on December 10.

Numerous regulations were yet to be put in place, with the soon-to-be updated Penal Code, one such example.

Representatives from the Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office noted that 18 of 85 cases were successfully prosecuted in 2012-13, explained Humaida. Of these, however, 7 people received a MVR200 (US $13) fine, 8 received a MVR150 (US $10) fine, 2 were handed MVR75 (US $5) fines, while one person was sentenced to 6 months.

While the Maldives passed the landmark Domestic Violence Act in 2012, Hope for Women has previously expressed concern that poor implementation had meant the new law had little practical effect on the problem.

A 2007 study by the Ministry of Gender and Family – the first comprehensive nationwide survey of domestic violence in the Maldives – showed that one in three women between the ages of 15-49 had been a victim of domestic violence.

The study suggested there was general acceptance of domestic violence across the country and among both sexes, who perceived it as being ‘normal’ or ‘justified’.