Minimum age for marriage to be raised to protect children from forced marriage

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022 will come into effect on Monday 27 February 2023 raising the age of marriage and civil partnership to 18 in England and Wales to protect children from forced marriage.


Previously, 16 to 17 year olds could marry or enter into a civil partnership with the consent of their parents, guardians or a Judge. This will no longer be possible.

What is a forced marriage?

As the term suggests, forced marriage relates to a marriage entered into without the requisite consent of the individuals involved and often against a background of duress. The victim can be an adult or a child. This is different from arranged marriages, where families arrange the marriage and the parties ultimately agree to continue with the marriage themselves.

It is important also to note that a forced marriage may not be limited to one particular religion, nationality or culture and victims may be male as well as female.

It is a criminal offence if an individual uses violence, threats or any form of coercion for the purpose of causing another person to enter a marriage.

What should you do if you know someone is a victim of a forced marriage?

You should contact the Forced Marriage Unit [email protected] or telephone 020 7008 0151 or 999.

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