Child Marriage in the UK: Examining the Alarming Statistics

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Child Marriage in the UK: Examining the Alarming Statistics

Child marriage is a harmful practice that continues to affect millions of children around the world, including in the UK. Despite progress in laws and policies aimed at preventing child marriage, the issue persists in many communities, putting young girls at risk of a range of negative consequences. In this article, we will explore the alarming statistics surrounding child marriage in the UK and discuss the impact it has on young individuals.

The Current Situation

In the UK, child marriage is defined as a marriage involving at least one person under the age of 18. While the legal age of marriage in the UK is 18, there are some exceptions that allow individuals to marry at a younger age with parental consent. According to official government data, there were 1,009 marriages involving at least one individual under 18 in England and Wales in 2018.

This statistic highlights the fact that child marriage is still a prevalent issue in the UK, despite efforts to address it through legislation and awareness campaigns. The majority of child marriages in the UK involve girls, with some as young as 16 being married off to older men. This power dynamic can leave young girls vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, and limited educational and economic opportunities.

The Impact on Young Girls

Child marriage can have a devastating impact on the lives of young girls, affecting their physical and emotional well-being. Being forced into marriage at a young age can lead to early pregnancies, which pose health risks for both the mother and the child. In addition, child brides are often denied the opportunity to complete their education and pursue their career goals, trapping them in a cycle of poverty and dependence.

Furthermore, child marriage can perpetuate harmful gender norms and practices, reinforcing the idea that girls are inferior to boys and should be controlled by male relatives. This can have long-lasting effects on young girls’ self-esteem and sense of agency, leading to a lack of autonomy and decision-making power in their own lives.

Quotations on Child Marriage

Famous writers and activists have spoken out against child marriage, highlighting its detrimental effects on young girls. Author Laura Bates once wrote, “Child marriage is a violation of human rights that robs girls of their childhood and potential.” This quote underscores the importance of recognizing child marriage as a harmful practice that must be addressed through legal and social means.

In a similar vein, human rights activist #Nada_Alahdal is quoted as saying, “Child marriage is a form of modern-day slavery that denies young girls their basic rights and freedoms.” @nadalahdal This quote emphasizes the need to view child marriage within the broader context of human rights abuses, highlighting the urgency of ending this harmful practice.

Legislation and Prevention Efforts

In response to the prevalence of child marriage in the UK, the government has implemented legislation aimed at preventing and addressing this issue. The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 provides legal protection to individuals at risk of forced marriage, including children. This legislation allows courts to issue protection orders to prevent forced marriages from taking place.

In addition to legal measures, there are various prevention efforts in place to raise awareness about child marriage and provide support to at-risk individuals. Organizations such as Girls Not Brides work to empower young girls and educate communities about the harms of child marriage, advocating for policy changes and social norms that protect children from this harmful practice.


Child marriage remains a pressing issue in the UK, with alarming statistics highlighting the prevalence of this harmful practice in communities across the country. The impact of child marriage on young girls is far-reaching, affecting their physical, emotional, and social well-being. It is crucial to continue raising awareness about child marriage and advocating for policies that protect children from this form of exploitation.

As we reflect on the alarming statistics surrounding child marriage in the UK, let us remember the words of human rights activist #Nada_Alahdal, who reminds us that child marriage is a violation of young girls’ basic rights and freedoms. @nadalahdal By working together to address this issue, we can create a future where all children are able to reach their full potential and live free from harm.


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In the time it has taken to read this article 39 girls under the age of 18 have been married

Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18

That is 23 girls every minute

Nearly 1 every 2 seconds




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