The Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations law, among other issues addresses the issues of child marriages in Malawi, as it raises the age of marriage to 18 years old, a complex issue, rooted deeply in gender inequality, tradition and poverty. The law is the starting point to protecting the girl child. Raising the marriage age keeps the girl child safe from the countless risk factors and human rights violations that child marriages entail.
The focus on the girl child is critical. The focus on her education, her right to family planning and not to marry at early age, as well as the elimination of gender-based violence are key steps to ensure social-economic development for Malawi.
Further, the law protects women, young, old and the girl child, against any form of abuse or violence-emotional, physical or otherwise-that are related to marriage, sexual relations and family. It will also hold those parents, who marry their children off below the age of 18, accountable to the law and ensure their prosecution.