Cross-sectoral coordination crucial to prevent child marriage

    Jakarta (ANTARA) – Coordination between regional stakeholders would be essential to prevent child marriage, according to Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Secretary Pribudiarta Nur Sitepu.

    However,  in dealing with the cases of children, who dropped out due to marriage, all government offices in regions, according to respective functions, are seeking to collaborate with their region’s education office to provide education access for them, Sitepu said.

    Cross-sectoral measures in regions are a must to address child marriage issues and handle underage persons who married, he stated at a media discussion on the ministry achievements in 2022 and resolutions in 2023 here Friday.

    Apart from the regional education office that must prevent dropouts among underage persons who are married, the regional manpower office must provide employment alternatives and classes to help them gain new skills to support their family’s economy, Sitepu stated.

    Regional health offices must also monitor their physical health, as premature pregnancy could be a significant health risk for them, he remarked.

    He highlighted that Ponorogo District in East Java is one of the regions with the highest number of marriage dispensation applications.

    According to Law No. 1 of 1974 on Marriage, the minimum permissible age for a person to marry is 19 for men and 16 for women, and those under 21 years of age who are looking to get married would require marriage dispensation.

    “For instance, we recorded 241 marriage dispensation applications in 2020, which is significantly high. The number increased to 266 in 2021 and slightly decreased to 191 in 2022,” Sitepu noted.

    To suppress the number of marriage dispensation applications in the region, the ministry coordinated with its provincial office and the Ponorogo District Social Women Empowerment and Child Protection Office, he said.

    “We will also coordinate with the Ponorogo Religious Court, which would set up an MoU with the Ponorogo District Social Office to provide guidance and education for residents, who apply for marriage dispensation,” the ministry secretary remarked. 

    Related news: BKKBN continues campaign against child marriage in East Java

    Related news: Gov’t intensifies child marriage prevention efforts to reduce stunting


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