UNICEF Maldives Office press statement on the case of a 2-year old child being sexually abused and the many similar cases that have come to the public’s attention in the days since
Male', 25 January 2020 - The UNICEF Maldives Office is dismayed by recent reports of a 2-year old child who was allegedly sexually abused by two family members and the many similar cases that have come to the public’s attention in the days since then. Our thoughts are with the children and their immediate family. There is nothing more horrifying than a child being abused by a person who is presumed to be a protector and loving caregiver. Everyone has a responsibility to protect children from all forms of violence.
Over 1200 cases of abuse and violence against children were reported to the Maldives Police Service in 2019. However, most violence is not reported because children are not believed, families are ashamed, or children do not know that what happened to them was wrong. 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.
More importantly, violence against children needs to be prevented. UNICEF is committed to working closely with national authorities to build systems for the prevention of child abuse and for the development of effective response mechanisms. These efforts alone are not enough to prevent child abuse and neglect, however. We need to have a protective environment in place at all levels to end abuse.
To do this requires everyone, individuals, family, community and the State, coming together to protect children from violence, abuse, and neglect.
One child abused is one too many.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and the work it supports in the Maldives, visit www.unicef.org/maldives