Content Editor

​Child Development Unit

 The Child Development Unit (CDU) was set up in 1995. It ensures that the survival, protection, development and participation rights of the Mauritian child are upheld as per the Convention on the Rights of the Child whereby the best interests of the child shall be of primary consideration in all policies, programmes and actions pertaining to children’s welfare.

The State has the obligation to ensure parental role wherever parents fail to do so and this role is ensured by the CDU. Any child may be a potential victim of violence, and the CDU has to intervene promptly and is expected to provide comprehensive service delivery with a view to provide immediate assistance and follow up to the child.
The Child Development Unit has as main objectives:
  • provide for Protection Services to victims of violence, ​​abuse and neglect on a 24 hr 7 days basis;
  • provide for hotline service with respect to reporting of a case and counseling as appropriate;
  • ​provide victims with follow-up sessions to ensure recovery from trauma and thereafter their re-insertion in society;
  • prepare and support children victims of violence for legal encounters;
  • provide for Early Childhood Development services to the cohort of 0-3 years;
  • ​provide parents with life skills through a National Parental Empowerment Programme and Ecole des Parents;
  • ​provide Alternative care to abused children, ranging from temporary removal to a shelter for children in distress, to foster caring and eventually, as a last resort, committal to a charitable institution;
provide victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation with curative, rehabilitative and reintegrative services;
  • provide tardy declaration of birth services to both children and adults who have not been declared within the prescribed time delay;
  • provide periodic review of placement of children in shelters and charitable institutions;
  • act as Central Authority in International Child Abduction cases;
  • provide trained mentors to children seen to be in distress because of mild behavioural problems through a well spelt child Mentoring Programme; and
  • provide community safety and community actions in Child Protection and Child Welfare in general through Community Child Protection Programme and outreach Programmes.
Our Approach
Working collaboratively to:
Enforce the Child Protection Act 1994 and its attendant regulations whereby it is mandated by law to report to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, any case of suspected ill-treatment, abandonment, neglect, destitution, abuse, and sexual exploitation of children including Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.
Shape and influence programmes/ actions pertaining to child protection and development at a national as well as regional level.
Develop partnerships with other stakeholders namely governmental institutions, Non-governmental institutions, community organizations that have at heart the best interests of the Mauritian Child.
Reinforce existing networking system for the reporting / monitoring and evaluation of child violence cases.
Promote information, education and communication to the Mauritian citizens on the importance of child rights/ protection/ development services and facilities.
Services Offered

“The Government must make sure that the child is protected from any type of physical or mental violence ,injury or abuse ,neglect ,maltreatment or exploitation, while he/she lives in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.Special procedures must be set up to help the child if he/she has been the victim of abuse” Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Supervising Officer of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Welfare has the mandate and authority, to investigate and intervene in cases of suspected child abuse. The Child Protection Act 1994 (amended 1998) confers upon the Supervising Officer​ or any public officer designated by him to apply for an emergency protection order in respect of a child who is at risk. The CDU takes steps to ensure the child’s safety, namely through an application in the court for an Emergency Protection Order whose outcome may involve the removal of the child from his/her home and his/her placement in the temporary shelters of the Ministry.​

Counselling and psychological support

The CDU offers face-to-face counselling services in outstations whereby children, victims as well as family members are free to discuss the problems they encounter in a safe and confidential environment. 

The CDU also operates a 24-hour Hot Line Service (113) to provide first hand counselling and advice to the public on any family related issue/problem and in particular to desperate persons who are in urgent need of help and support. 

Parenting skills are also conveyed to parents to strengthen the parent-child bond and to help parents better understand their children and vice versa. 

Children and victims of abuse are also provided with psychological support at the level of CDU outstations to help them cope more effectively with life issues.​


Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC)

The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children is the sexual exploitation by an adult of a child or adolescent below 18 years of age that involves a transaction in cash or in kind to the child or to one or more third parties.

Commercial sexual exploitation of children includes:

    • the use of girls and boys in sexual activities remunerated in cash or in kind;
    • trafficking of girls and boys and adolescents for the sextrade;
    • child sex tourism;
    • the production, promotion and distribution of pornography involving children; and
    • the use of children in sexshows (public or private).


National Action Plan on CSEC:

Mauritius showed its commitment in providing the required support and assistance to victims of trafficking and juvenile prostitution. Following a study which was commissioned in 2001 by UNICEF and the Ministry, a National Action Plan of Action was prepared to prevent and progressively eliminate and protect Juvenile Prostitution victims and also to ensure their recovery and re-integration in the society. The measures proposed in the National Plan of Action are based on Coordination and Cooperation, Prevention (the need for trained personnel), Recovery and Reintegration (i.e. the setting-up of the Drop-in-Center). 

The Drop-in-Center:

A Drop-in-Center was set-up at Bell Village on 05th December 2003.  The Centre is run and managed by the Mauritius Family Planning and Welfare Association (MFPWA) and is monitored by the Child Development Unit.

Cases of sodomy, child prostitution, sexual intercourse under 16, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, abortion, teenage pregnancy, attempt upon chastity, rape and teenage pregnancy are dealt with at the level of the Drop-In-Centre.

​The services offered at the Drop-in-Centre are as follows:

  • Long term counselling and therapy;
  • Monthly medical sessions;
  • Parental Counselling;
  • Couple/Contraceptive Counselling;
  • Monthly home visits to clients;
  • Prevention and sensitization of adolescents/public on sexual abuse and teenage pregnancy;
  • Referral to other NGOs/social aid and other institutions (as and when needed);
  • Echography and clinical services including gynecologist at MFPWA clinic;
  • Laboratory tests (HIV, Pregnancy);
  • Group Activity Therapy (personality development, Art and Craft Therapy, Art Competition in school holidays);
  • Referral to vocational courses through MITD/NEF/HRDC; and
  • Radio Programmes, Networking.


The Residential Drop-in-Center (GRNW):

  • The Residential Drop-in-Center ensures better protection and assistance to children victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation in a sustainable manner. It provides adequate, appropriate and safe shelter to child victims of exploitation, provides for opportunities for education as well as family mediation, provides for medical and psychological care in coordination with national health and social services.


Legislations to combat CSEC and Trafficking in Person:

            • Child Protection Act (1994)
            • Child Protection Amendment Act (2005)
            • The Combatting of Trafficking in Persons Act (2009)​

Trafficking in person
All cases of alleged child trafficking are made known to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Welfare  and recorded at the level of the CDU for social enquiry. The cases are simultaneously reported to the Police for Criminal Enquiry.

Child victims are also provided with immediate and long term protective and support services at the level of the six CDU Outstations across the island notably, at Goodlands, Flacq, Souillac , Port Louis, Bambous and Vacoas. Protective and supportive services are also provided in the Drop-in-Centre at Port Louis and Residential Centre at Grand Riviere North West (GRNW).

Protective and Supportive Measures

The Protective and Support Services comprise the following -

A Hotline/Helpline 113 for reporting cases of child abuse including Child Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) either anonymously or otherwise;

Joint interviews by the Police and CDU Officers to avoid repeated narrations of incident;

Assistance to victims of child trafficking for medical and Police Medical Examinations as well as HIV testing and pregnancy tests; and

Psycho-social counselling/ Psycho-social support to victims and their families.

There is a close collaboration with the Brigade Pour la Protection des Mineurs (BPLPDM) and other stakeholders to assist in the identification of victims and providing them support. The BPLPDM carries-out raids in game houses, hotels, discotheques and also investigate in suspected/alleged cases of child trafficking and CSEC.

Awareness Campaigns on Issue of Child Trafficking: 
  • Regular IEC campaigns are carried out by Officers of the Ministry to sensitise and educate people at different levels about the problem of child trafficking.
  • From January to June 2018, 1811 persons have been sensitised on child protection issues inclusive of child trafficking in primary and secondary schools, social welfare and community centres by officers of the CDU and Psychologist of the Drop in Centre.​

Child Abduction
The Child Development Unit caters also for international child abduction cases. Mauritius adhered to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of  International Child Abduction on 01 October 1993. Officers of the Ministry enforce the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Act 2000. The main objectives of the Convention are to secure the prompt return of children wrongfully retained in another State and see to it that the rights of custody and of access under the law of one Contracting State are effectively respected in another State. The Child Development Unit is the Central Authority for Mauritius and as such has the following duties:
(i)    To provide information on the whereabouts and the social background of the child.
(ii)   To apply to Court for the return of the child as well as securing the effective exercise of the right of the child.
It is also to be noted that in this exercise there is need to constantly liaise with the Central Authority of countries involved under the Hague Convention.
(iii)   Acceptance of accession of contracting parties by member states necessitate amendments of schedules of the Act and this is a regular feature and demands resources.
A high level Steering Committee to monitor the  acceptance of accession of contracting States has been set up. 

Tardy Declaration of Birth

As per the Civil Status Act, provision is made for a declaration of birth to be made within 45 days of the birth. As per the Civil Status Act of 1982, in the absence of the parents, the Senior Chief Executive of the Ministry declares the child and the Child Development Unit is given the mandate to facilitate the procedure for the tardy declaration of birth of Children only.

The Tardy Declaration of Birth has been put in place since 2005 and acts as a fast track system for children whose birth have not been registered within the prescribed delay. This system ensures that the children are not deprived of their rights.

The CDU works in close collaboration with other stakeholders, including, the State Law Office, the Civil Status Office, the Police Department, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life and the Judiciary to identify and record cases of undeclared births and to arrange for the registration of same within the shortest delay.​

Sharing of responsibilities/Working together
The issue of protection and well-being of children is a matter of concern for all. In fact, child protection is the collective responsibility of the whole government and the community at large. Although the primary responsibility for rearing and supporting children should rest with families and communities, government should be seen as providing support where it is needed, either directly or through the funded non-government sector.
A high powered committee has thus been set under the chairpersonship of the Supervising Officer and will comprise a schedule officer not below the level of Principal Assistant Secretary from the following Ministries/Departments –
(a) Prime Minister’s Office;
(b) Ministry of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment;
(c) Ministry of Finance and Economic Development;
(d) Ministry of Education and Human Resources;
(e) Ministry of Youth and Sports;
(f) Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institution;
(g) Ministry of Health and Quality of Life;
(h) Attorney General’s Office;
(i) Ombudsperson for Children’s Office;
(j) Police Department; and
(k) National Children’s Council.
The main objective of this Committee is to look into avenues of collaboration between all parties concerned to ensure rapid intervention in cases involving children. It will also be a forum whereby the roles and responsibilities of each party would be established with a view to give effect to collective action in dealing with such cases. The discussions held at the level of the High Powered Committee has culminated towards the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between this Ministry and other the Ministries/Department concerned.

National Children’s Council (NCC)
School Child Protection Club (SCPC)
Through the School Child Protection Club (SCPC) children are also sensitised on issues related to teenage pregnancy (and related problems). Children are also exposed to issues pertaining to: relationship bullying, cyber bullying, indiscipline, misconduct, harsh language, aggressive parents towards authority of school, intake of alcohol and smoking, amongst others.

The SCPC is a multi-holistic project which aims to initiating home grown protection clubs for children by children at the level of the School itself. The SCPC is providing a well-structured platform to promote Child Protection to combat violence and indiscipline at school.

Objectives of the SCPC:
  • The School Child Protection Clubs seek to provide a well-structured platform.
  • To develop the skills and competencies to both curtail and combat violence against children ‘a priori’ within the school premises and also to empower the child on the way to contribute towards the creation of a violence free and child friendly environment conducive for the overall development of the child.
  • To conduct in a coherent and systematic approach activities on Child Rights/Child Protection.
  • To address issues against bullying gang violence and discipline.

The ‘Atelier Partage Parents’ in a nutshell portends to offer adequate and appropriate information regarding child development in general and also prevention from all forms of child violence. Parents will also be apprised of the support services available to respond to the various needs of parents during their different periods of parenting, ranging from pre-birthing to late adolescence through early childhood. 

The ‘Atelier Partage Parents’ are held in Social Welfare centres and Community Centres island wide. The main topics discussed are health, nutrition, rights and responsibilities of children, child violence and parenting and challenges of parenting at the different developmental stages of children from pre-birth to 18 years.

Objectives of the Atelier Partage Parents:
    To enhance the relationship between parents and children in general;
    To remove and reduce intergenerational gaps that leads to conflicts between        parents and children;
    To improve the parenting skills of parents particularly those faring in deprived areas, and are in disadvantaged          circumstances;
    To empower parents with the capacity to manage and develop coping mechanism with regards to their family          problems.

Children's Club

21 children’s Clubs are run islandwide mostly in socially difficult areas. Children 3 years to under 18 years old are members of children’s Clubs.

1. To promote educational activities about norms and values in society.
2. Enhance creative capacity of children by motivating them to participate in creativity workshops.
3. To give them an opportunity to increase their self-esteem.
4. To encourage children to practice outdoor games.
5. To encourage social integration.
6. To carry out welfare and developmental activities so as to prevent child abuse and commercial sexual                    exploitation of children. (CSEC)
From January 2018 to June 2018, 9911 children have participated in the Children’s Club.​

Creativity Centre
A Creativity Centre for children has been set up at Mahebourg. The aim of the project is to have a Creativity Centre similar to the “Bal Bhawan” of India, to serve as a focal point for creativity, recreation and leisure activities for children. This project received the support of the Government of India through the technical assistance of experts. Along with that the following international events are being celebrated:

Day of the African Child (DAC)
The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (African Children’s Charter/Charter) was adopted by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on 11 July 1990 and entered into force on 29 November 1999. The Charter establishes the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (African Committee/Committee), consisting of 11 members of high moral standing, integrity, impartiality and competence in matters of the rights and welfare of the child.

In 1991, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the then OAU instituted the Day of the African Child (DAC) for the first time in memory of the 16th June 1976 student uprising in Soweto, South Africa who marched in protest against the poor quality of education were massacred by the then apartheid regime in place in South Africa.

Since then, the OAU and its successor, the AU, have used the DAC to remember these children, to celebrate children in Africa as well as to inspire a sober reflection and action towards addressing the plethora of challenges that children in Africa face on a daily basis. The African Committee selects the theme for the DAC every year.

Universal Children's Day (UCD)
UCD is a regular feature and is celebrated on a yearly basis on the 20th November.

On 14 November 1954, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly recommended that all countries should establish a Universal Children’s Day (UCD), to be observed as a day of fraternity and understanding between children all over the world. This day promotes the ideals and welfare of children.

Capacity Building Programmes
The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Welfare provides regular Capacity Building/Training Programme for professionals and other stakeholders working with and for children mainly, on 
  • the Early Childhood Development Programme; 
  • the Commercial Sexual Exploitation; 
  • the Community Child Protection Programme;
  • the different techniques of enquiry and investigation; 
  • stress managements; 
  • dealing with difficult clients,
  • first aid amongst others and the component on Convention cut across all the Themes elaborated within the training held up till now.. Overall a total number of 5000 persons have been trained in these fields.
 Preventive /IEC/Community Development /Development
The Ministry in collaboration with the National Children`s Council organises a series of activities such as Sports Day ,Colonie des Vacances ,outreach and developmental activities to foster the wefare and participation of children .International/Regional /Days /Events / Campaigns based on the promotion of the rights of the child are celebrated annually , to sensitise adults about children`s rights and their own duties towards them.

Contact Us
Emergency Contact Numbers: 113





As from 17 August 2020, the CDU has been restructured and now provides Child Rescue and Prevention Services and Child Rehabilitation Services. 


The Child Rehabilitation Services provide​ for the re-insertion of Children Victims of Violence into their families/ next-of-kin. As a measure of last resort, children with at risk in their immediate family environment are placed in Shelters/ RCIs, whereby they are provided with more permanent residential care facilities, following the issue of Committal Orders. These institutions are Charitable Institutions/ Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that work in collaboration with the MGEFW.


The CDU is mandated to ensure that rehabilitation is undertaken between the children and their biological parents, with the aim of returning them to their family. Presently, the Ministry has three (3) Government-owned Shelters and it is working with fifteen (15) RCIs run by NGOs.