The Juvenile Justice Unit (JJU) will draft a ‘Juvenile Act’ outlining the actions that can be taken against irresponsible parents.
Spokesperson for the Juvenile Court Zaeema Nasheed said the JJU held a meeting with Prosecutor General’s Office, Police, Department of Gender and Family and the Juvenile court to discuss the draft bill, which it believes will help reduce the number of children becoming involved in crime.
”We have noticed that many children are led to crimes due to a lack of care from their parents,” Zaeema said. ”To reduce the number of children involvement the crimes, we should take action against irresponsible parents.”
”In the Maldives there are no laws on irresponsible parents.” Zaeema added. ”That’s why we face difficulties prosecuting such cases.”
”Sometimes when we go to deliver the chit from the court, the kid’s Mum or Dad says that they do not know where he lives or how to contact him,” she said.
”It is irresponsible for them to not know where their children live.”
She said that according to the law parents should protect children from danger, but that the divorces were leading the children to become isolated join gangs.
”When a couple divorces when they have children, then due to lack of care the child becomes isolated and they start going out to the streets,” she said. ”When they go out like that, they meet the gangs and join them and then they become involved in crime.”
She said that children usually became involved in crimes such as assault and battery, fornication and drug related cases.
Head of Child Section in Health Ministry Saudhath Afeef said that the discussion’s main target was to increase awareness among parents and children.
”With children we can make them understand that they also have responsibilities at their level,” Saudhath said. ”We can make aware parents by running advertisements and by holding awareness programs.”
She said that parents should not leave children on the streets saying that they “are grown up now”.
”The discussion are not finished yet,” Zaeema said. ”We will hold more meetings continuously.”
Deputy Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.