Published on
19 November 2021

MPs have supported plans to ban child marriage in “all its forms” in England and Wales. The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Bill was given an unopposed second reading today, with support coming from both the Government and opposition benches.

In response, Barnardo’s interim Co-CEO Michelle Lee-Izu said:

"We welcome proposals to raise the legal age of marriage to 18 in England and Wales. Closing the loophole that allows 16 and 17 year olds to marry with parental consent will help to protect children from being coerced into marriage, which can cause them to miss out on education, and even become victims of domestic abuse and other harm.

“Under current laws, the onus is on children to secure their own protection where coercion is involved, often by speaking out against their own families.

“Raising the minimum age of marriage to 18 brings it in line with compulsory education and helps to protect children from harm.”