Child Marriage Ban: More Work Still to be Done

Today marks one year since the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022 became law, banning child marriage. 

Reflecting on the 12 months since this momentous milestone, Savera UK CEO and founder, Afrah Qassim, said: “While this is an achievement to be celebrated, and a tool at our disposal to help us protect children from harm and abuse, it is also important to recognise that there is still much work to be done.

“We support IKWRO’s urgent calls for legislative changes in Scotland and Northern Ireland, because a marriage where parental consent is required is open to abuse and is not truly consensual. Until these laws are changed, children will remain at risk.

“We must also look at the wider issue of forced marriage. Forced marriage is inextricable from the issue of child marriage, but you don’t have to be a child to be forced into a marriage. 

“Cases of forced marriage affecting people of all ages are still under-reported, due to people being reluctant to approach authorities, survivors not realising that they are in a forced marriage, and a limited understanding of the issue amongst professionals and statutory and voluntary services.

“Greater training for professionals, mandatory education on the issue in schools, and more funding to support survivors is vital if we are to continue our work and achieve our collective aim of ending forced and child marriage.

“We will continue to work to end all harmful practices, to safeguard and advocate for those at risk, campaign for change and spread awareness among communities.”