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Learning from Reviews – Forced Marriage

Date: Tuesday, 03rd Oct 2023 | Category: General


The Board have recently released a Child Safeguarding Practice Review Child J and Child K on its website. Reviews are often complex in nature and contain many areas of concern, however this child safeguarding practice review has ‘Forced Marriage’ at the centre of its focus. The review included the collation of learning and subsequent actions taken by each agency in mitigating the reoccurrence of this happening again to other children.

Forced Marriage and the One Chance rule

A forced marriage is a marriage that takes place without the full and free consent of both parties. Force can include physical force, as well as being pressurised emotionally, being threatened or being a victim of psychological abuse.

Forced marriages are not the same as arranged marriages. In an arranged marriage families take the lead in selecting a marriage partner but the couple have the free will and choice to accept or decline the arrangement.

Forced marriage is recognised in the UK as a form of domestic or child abuse and a serious abuse of human rights.


Learning and actions taken

Recognising the warning signs, advice, training and guidance was highlighted as learning points throughout the review.

Agencies are working together to upskill their practitioners in spotting the signs of potential forced marriages through lunch and learn session, reflective conversations, forced marriage training slides in team meetings, and 7-minute-breifings.



Responding to the warning signs, the missed opportunities to apply for a forced marriage protection order and forced marriage thresholds.

Actions are being taken to ensure staff across our partner agencies are aware and trained on the ‘One Chance Rule’ for sharing concerns about forced marriage. Practitioners are being supported to understand we often have only one chance to share our concerns about forced marriage, no matter how small as there is no threshold to reach when reporting those concerns to the front door and the forced marriage unit. Obtaining a forced marriage protection order at the earliest stage can result in stopping children from being taken abroad to be married. One a child leave the UK there is very little we can do to address the situation.

The guidance section on the Boards website ‘Forced Marriage’ hold s a wealth of training, guidance and downloadable video’s from the Forced Marriage Unit to share within your teams and agencies.

For more information visit the Forced Marriage Unit website

Contact: telephone: +44 (0) 20 7008 0151, email, including for outreach work:, Facebook: Forced Marriage page, Twitter: @FMUnit,