Committee launches inquiry into last 15 years' sexual abuse cases

Committee launches inquiry into last 15 years' sexual abuse cases

Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and Gender, on Monday, decided to launch an inquiry into sexual abuse cases filed within the last 15 years.

The committee's Chairperson Jeehaan Mahmood told local media Mihaaru that the committee wanted to probe this matter due to a case which surfaced recently, where a perpetrator charged with the sexual abuse of various minors was sentenced not guilty after 13 years.

According to the court's verdict on the case, he was proven innocent since he was charged under the previous constitution and the victim's statements can no longer be considered irrefutable evidence.

Taking this case as proof that there are many victims without justice, Jeehan stated that the committee decided to launch an inquiry to ensure justice for such victims.

A survey conducted in Maldives during 2007 shows that one in three women suffer from some form of sexual abuse. Jeehan assured that the committee will address the challenges in ensuring justice, especially in the face of such dire numbers.

"We will investigate and collect information on the progress of cases submitted to Maldives Police Service, Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services and courts', Jeehan said.

She added that the committee believes this step is necessary to ensure justice for victims of sexual assault.

Gender Ministry's statistics for the last five years show that most of the cases reported are sexual abuse against minors with 418 out of the 1,372 cases reported in 2017 in relation to children being sexual abuse cases.

Some of these statistics show that children were sexually exploited to generate business profits as well.