IKWRO marks the first anniversary of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022, a pivotal legislation that came officially into force on 27 February 2023. This means that individuals aged 16 and 17 are no longer permitted to marry or enter into a civil partnership, irrespective of parental consent. This legislation also extends its jurisdiction to marriages arranged abroad, as well as non-legally binding customary, religious or traditional ceremonies whether registered or not, ensuring full protection for all minors in England and Wales. 

However, as we commemorate this progress, we acknowledge that challenges persist. IKWRO advocates for increased funding to support specialist services aiming  to provide advocacy services for survivors and deliver essential training to schools and professionals on this law change. These efforts are crucial in providing vital support for survivors and implementing preventive measures. Additionally, we call for legislative changes in Scotland and Northern Ireland, underlining that a marriage requiring parental consent is not truly consensual. No child should be subjected to any form of a child marriage; childhood should be safeguarded as a time for learning and personal development. 

In light of our commitment to ending harmful practices, IKWRO continues to offer specialised training and advice. We stand ready to support individuals, communities, and organisations in tackling the complex issues surrounding child marriage, “honour”-based violence, and forced marriages. 

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