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Today (27th February), it has been announced that the legal age of marriage in England and Wales has risen to eighteen. This is to protect vulnerable children from the damaging impact of forced marriage.

The Children’s Commissioner has previously called for a change in the law to end child marriage and therefore welcomes today’s announcement.

Her full statement can be found below:

Today’s change in legislation is hugely welcome, and something I have long been calling for as Children’s Commissioner.

This has largely been informed by my own experiences as a teacher and a Headteacher, where I witnessed young girls being taken out of school and married against their will. They should have had the chance to go on to achieve an education, but instead they were left with little choice about their future, and at risk of serious abuse within their marriage.

All children deserve a right to a childhood, and I am hopeful that this change in the law will go some way to protect vulnerable young women and girls from potential exploitation or abuse.