Protection Risk: Child, Early or Forced Marriage

Child marriage is any formal or informal union between a child under the age of 18 with an adult or another child. It is considered as a form of forced marriage because of the impossibility for a child to give full, free and informed consent. Child marriage is a harmful practice that might be socially accepted and practiced, or used as a coping mechanism. Girls are disproportionately affected, but boys might also be concerned. In humanitarian emergencies caused by conflict, natural hazards and climate change impacts, the rates of child marriage, as with other forms of gender-based violence, are likely to increase due to safety concerns, situational factors, and poor living conditions that result in the adoption of negative coping mechanisms. Child marriage may result due to parents believing that their child will be safer in another household, or because they can no longer meet the basic needs of the family due to food insecurity. Forced marriage is a marriage in which one or more of the parties is married without their consent or against their will. In conflict-affected areas, girls may be kidnapped and forced to marry members of armed forces or armed groups.