Police and the Ministry of Health and Family have confirmed they are concurrently investigating a “very serious” case of child abuse.
Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed a number of children had been taken to hospital, but did not divulge further details.
Minivan News understands four children were taken to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) by ministry workers yesterday to undergo medical examination following allegations.
Inspector Mirufath Faiz, head of the family and child protection unit, said the children had suffered from physical abuse and neglect. She explained authorities were withholding all information for the sake of the investigation.
“There are so many things we need to find out,” she said. “When we have more information that we can share, we will share it.”
Deputy Minister of Health and Family Mariya Ali said all details are being withheld for the protection of the children.
“We have the childrens’ best interest in mind, and that means we cannot give out any information that might put them in danger,” she said.
Mohamed Shihaab of Child Abuse Watch Maldives said he understood the authorities’ fear that evidence would be corrupted, or that the families of the abused children would suffer more if their identities are known.
“There is no need to disclose the identities of the children or their families, but the incident needs to be reported. It’s important that the community knows if something like this is happening,” he said.
Shihaab said he believed people are not reporting incidents for several reasons, one of them being the lack of confidentiality for the victims. The other is the need to provide witnesses so an abuse case is taken seriously.
“People need to know that justice will be carried out,” he says. “If they do not have enough evidence, their case could be dismissed.”
IGMH has not commented on, or confirmed, the case.