UNICEF expresses concern over growing number of child abuse cases

Members of the public are seen voicing anger at child abuse during a march in Male' city on January 24, 2020. (Sun Photo/Ahmed Awshan Ilyas)

Unicef Maldives has expressed concern over the rising number of child abuse cases being reported in the country.

The organization stated that there was nothing more frightening when a child is abused by the very people that are there to protect them. The statement comes after a case of a toddler who was allegedly abused by elderly members of the family came to light on January 15.

The case which caused an outrage in the community has seen a high number of similar cases reported in its aftermath, according to Unicef.

Statistics from the Police, quoted by Unicef showed that 1,200 cases of child abuse were received in 2019 alone. It also noted that most cases are kept hidden due to the purported shame that the family might be subjected to, according to Unicef. Such actions also caused children to misunderstand the gravity of the abuse and its vile nature.

“Public support services need to be put in place to allow children to speak up about abuse and to support victims and ensure that justice is served.” read a statement by Unicef on the matter.

UNICEF also stated its commitment to working closely with national authorities to build systems for the prevention of child abuse and the development of effective response mechanisms.