Forced marriage is defined by the UK Government Forced Marriage Unit as a marriage without the consent of one or both parties and where duress is a factor.

In a forced marriage one or both spouses either do not, or cannot, consent to the marriage. We have focused on those who cannot give consent, especially in the case of some adults with learning disabilities who lack the capacity to consent to a complex undertaking like marriage.

As one of the leading UK authorities in safeguarding adults at risk, we have worked with a number of organisations on the following forced marriage research projects.

My Marriage My Choice – 2017

Exploring forced marriage of adults with learning disabilities and developing knowledge, policy and practice to keep people safe.

My Marriage My Choice is a two year study funded by the National Institute for Health Research – School of Social Care Research (NIHR-SSCR). The project is led by Rachael Clawson at the University of Nottingham and we are working with colleagues from the University of Kent and RESPOND.

The project aims to build knowledge, policy and practice to support professionals to safeguard children and adults. In raising awareness of forced marriage we hope to empower those who are involved in education, care and support to recognise it and respond to individuals who cannot consent to marriage We also aim to provide a framework for adult social care staff including the development of a tool for assessing capacity to consent to marriage.

Find out more about My Marriage My Choice and get the latest news from the project on the My Marriage My Choice Project website.

Forced Marriage of People with Learning Disabilities – 2010

The forced marriage of people with learning disabilities is a largely hidden problem. Little data has been collected on prevalence and there is a widespread lack of awareness of the particular features of such forced marriages. Instead, the information we have has largely come from the frontline professionals who have encountered cases.

In this project, we worked with other organisations, including Respond, the Judith Trust and the Forced Marriage Unit, to raise awareness of the problem of forced marriage and the issues involved.

The project allowed us to produce national guidance and good practice to equip professionals to effectively deal with forced marriages of people with learning disabilities.

You can access the final report on this research project here.

In partnership with the Forced Marriage Unit, we developed the national guidance document Forced Marriage and Learning Disabilities: Multi Agency Practice Guidelines.

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