Child & Forced Marriage


Child and Forced Marriage is where one or both parties do not give free and voluntary consent to the marriage. In the case of disability where one party cannot consent, the marriage is automatically deemed forced.


Usually, physical or emotional pressure is used to propel the marriage and predominately girls are affected more than boys.


Forced Marriage is recognised as a form of violence within the UK and is deemed an abuse of basic human rights. Child Marriage specifically can lead repercussions of disadvantage and deprivation.

In the UK?

In 2015, the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) gave advice or support to 1,220 cases. The FMU also received approximately 350
calls per month in total.


Of the cases, 174 were under the age of 15; bringing them below the legal age of consent for marriage within the UK. A further 33% of cases involved 16-21 year olds. 


Last year the majority of cases 980 (80%) involved female victims, and 240 cases (20%) involved male victims.

Source: Forced Marriage Unit; Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Around the world

Forced marriage is not a problem specific to one country or culture: since it was established in 2005, the FMU has handled cases relating to over 90 countries across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America.

In 2015, the FMU handled cases involving 67 ‘focus’ countries which a victim was at risk of, or had already, been taken to in connection with a forced marriage.

The five highest volume countries in the UK were:

Pakistan - 539 cases (44%).
Bangladesh - 89 cases (7%).
India - 75 cases (6%).
Somalia - 34 cases (3%).
Afghanistan - 21 cases (2%).

Around the world, Child and Early Forced Marriage is still highly prevelant. In Mexico for example, 1 in 5 girls are married before their 18th birthday.

Number of women who were married by 18, by region. (2008)

Source: Unicef.


Forced Marriage occurs for a variety of socio-economic and cultural reasons. It is often mistaken as a religious practice, however it is not permissible is any of the major faiths. 


FM is a form of abuse and a gross violation of human rights and is usually committed for family honour and to keep respect intact; especially for girls.

Forced marriage is not justifiable as a cultural practice. It is a form of abuse and must be eradicated.

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Educating to Eradicate Forced Marriage, FGM and Honour Abuse.