President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ratified on Monday the first amendment to the Sexual Offences Act. The amendment was passed by Parliament at the 44th sitting of its third session on Monday, November 29, 2021.
The amendment re-defines rape, sexual injury, and sexual assault to extend the offences to married couples. The amendment mandates the provision of rape evidence kits at all government hospitals and health centres, and training of staff at such facilities with a "victim-centred and trauma-informed" approach and on the use of rape evidence kits.
It also mandates the Maldives Police Service to provide rape evidence kits to victims of sexual offence cases as listed under the law. Victims should also be provided information on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and, upon request, testing for STIs should be provided.
The amendment also repeals section 20 of the Act which provided for the offence of marital rape in limited circumstances. Following ratification, the Act has been published in the Government Gazette and has come into effect.