National Police at Son Espases Hospital. | Archive

On Thursday evening last week, the father of a 14-year-old girl was arrested by the National Police in Palma, charged with mistreatment in the family and causing serious injuries. The girl's stepmother was charged with the same offences but not arrested as she has two young children in her care.

The girl's school had raised the alarm and notified the police. She had marks on parts of her body covered by clothing. She was in obvious pain, the wounds having been inflicted by a stick or a similar object.

She told the police that she was beaten daily, that she would have to get up at four in the morning every day to do the housework and prepare food for everyone. Her younger brothers, 9 and 10, also beat her, repeating what they saw the adults do. She was going to be forced into marrying an older man when she reached the age of sixteen.

All those involved are described as being of "eastern origin" (now confirmed as Pakistani). The father has been living in Mallorca for around ten years. The girl arrived on the island some three and a half years ago.

The girl was treated in hospital and has been moved to a shelter centre while the police continue their investigations. Assessment is being made of the two younger brothers, whose behaviour - that of also beating the girl - has become normalised. The police, who consider the case to be one of slavery, are examining whether the boys were being subjected to similar conditions.

The defence for the father is understood to be based on "customs and traditions".