The Palau Senate has approved a bill increasing penalties for the rape of victims under eighteen.
Under the bill a person convicted of raping a female under 18 years old would face a minimum sentence of not less than 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in prison.
The bill provides a mandatory prison term of 15 years, with a maximum term of 30 years, for any person convicted of sodomy involving a victim under 18.
Spousal or marital rape can also be prosecuted in Palau.
The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Affairs says there is no valid reason not to prosecute marital rape, and the fact that such prosecutions may be more challenging for the Office of Attorney General, does not mitigate against the need to protect women and prosecute violent crime.