Gender ministry explains 5-year delay in child abuse register

The Ministry of Health and Gender has explained to local media the reasons behind the failure to compile a legally mandated registry of child abusers.

State minister Dr Aishath Ramila told Haveeru that the Child Protection Services unit – required to compile the list under the 2009 Child Sex Abuse (Special Protection) Act – did not have access to the criminal records necessary to complete the register.

“Even if we look at other countries, an Offenders Registry is always with the Police of the country. This is because all the criminal records of the offenders are within the police database,” Dr Ramila told Haveeru.

Furthermore, the minister suggested that the compact communities unique to the Maldives islands made the public naming of abusers problematic.

“For example, when the child abuser’s own children go to school, they may be bullied by other children at school. These instances may occur and we need to think about this.”

A growing number of child abuse cases have been reported to police in recent weeks, with the Human Rights Commission calling for greater awareness raising and legal protection for children.