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Vol.19 No.0522 Wednesday Edition, May 22, 2019
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With the entry of this law, victims of sexual violence will be given more time to reconstruct the facts and present the case before the courts of justice. / A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo




President signs law extending deadline for
complaints of sexual crimes against minors



By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Carlos Alvarado and the Minister of Justice and Peace, Marcia Gonzalez, signed on Tuesday the law known as ‘Right to Time,’ which gives more time to report sexual crimes against victims who were minors when the crime occurred.

With the reform of Article #31 of the Criminal Code, the period was increased from 10 to 25 years, which applies from the date on which the victim reaches the age of majority, allowing it to be possible to denounce up to 43 years after the fact.

"This project extends the guarantees to the people affected and allows us to address a problem that requires the most attention from the government," said President Alvarado. "By strengthening the protection of minors, this law helps the access to justice."

The change in the article has the technical and political support of the National Institute for Women and the National Children's Trust.

The updated article does not modify existing criminal offenses for sexual crimes against minors and does not increase the corresponding penalties. The reform only modifies the prescription period based on medical and psychological evidence. It is estimated that the trauma of sexual assaults in minors affects parts of the brain that are used to remember past events.

With the entry of this law, victims of sexual violence will be given more time to reconstruct the facts and present the case before the courts of justice.

According to statistics published by the Government, complaints of sexual abuse against minors grew by 74 percent during the 13 years from 2004 to 2017.

During 2018, the total number of complaints about crimes against minors was 8,229. Of those, 3,734 complaints were for sexual abuse; 4,034 were crimes of sexual relations with minors and 398 crimes were such as corruption of minors, payment for sex with minors or dissemination of pornography of minors.

According to the statistics of the National Children's Hospital, between 2006 and 2013, the daily cases seen due to abuse against minors increased from 9 percent to 26 percent.

In addition, the National Institute of Statistics and Census reported that between the years 2014 and 2015, almost 1,000 births were the result of the rape of girls under age 14.  

The law will come active in the next few days after it has been published in the official government newspaper know as La Gaceta.


According to United Nations Youth Strategy Secretary world statistics:

-
Approximately 430 young people aged 10 to 24 die every day through interpersonal violence.

- For each death, an estimated 20 to 40 youths require hospital treatment for a violence-related injury.

-
8 out of 10 adolescent girls who die as a result of violence are aged 15-19.

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Violence and insecurity perpetrated by and against children and young people are caused by various factors, including weak educational and policing systems, unemployment and socio-political exclusion.


 





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Do you know the legal time period for reporting sexual abuse of a minor in your home country?   We would like to know your thoughts on this story.  Send your comments to: news@amcostarica.com













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