Officials want to raise the marriage age

Casa Presidencial said that it will try to expedite two bills that are designed to provide protection for children. One raises the marriage age to 18.

Melvin Jiménez, minister of the Presidencia, said one measure reformed the criminal code and family code to provide harsher punishments for those who harm children if the criminal is a family member or someone in a position of confidence or authority.

Casa Presidencial was acting in response to a Feb. 2 case in which a 2 year old died from injuries investigators say were inflicted by a stepfather. The young mother is just 16.

Marriage in Costa Rica is possible with parental approvals of women as young as 15.

Jiménez said that during the month of January, the Hospital de Niños attended an average of eight youngsters a day who had suffered from physical aggression.

The Feb. 2 case also has generated outrage, and a march is planned for 9 a.m. Sunday against injuries to children.

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