"Emerging Concerns and Case Studies on Child Marriage in Sri Lanka"


This study looks at the interface and connection between statutory rape and early marriage in selected districts in Sri Lanka. While both the concepts of early marriage and statutory rape have legal definitions (with the latter being an exclusively legally defined concept) this study also looked at the social and culturaldimensions of early marriage as well as its causes, trends and impact. The field work was conducted in 7districts in Sri Lanka and consisted of in-depth interviews with service providers as well as individuals andfamilies. The field work was preceded by a comprehensive literature review. The study found that early marriage cannot be considered a traditional practice in Sri Lanka and that therewas a high level of public awareness regarding the minimum age of marriage. The study found that early marriage and early cohabitation affects girls more than boys and reflects genderbiases and discriminatory attitudes in families and communities. The study recommends that there should be increased awareness of the negative consequences of earlymarriage and early cohabitation. Age appropriate and effective sexual and reproductive health education and services should be made available for children. Amendments to the law to ensure that an underage girl who is a cohabiting partner can claim family support and maintenance for herself, as well as amendments to ensure that children who are born of such relationships are not discriminated, are necessary.

"www.unicef.org/srilanka/Final_Uploaded_report_compress.pdf‎ "

Savitri Goonesekere and Harini Amarasuriya



Contact Details

Professor Savitri Goonesekere Emeritus Professor of Law University of Colombo.                                    Dr. Harini Amarasuriya Senior Lecturer, Department of Social Studies Open University of Sri Lanka               

Year Of Publication