last updated October 2014

In partnership with UN Women, The Advocates for Human Rights created the following sections for UN Women's Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls. This section, along with sections addressing other forms of violence against women and girls, may be found under Legislation at www.endvawnow.org.

Core Elements of Legislation on Forced and Child Marriage
The following elements should be established as the core elements of any law on forced and child marriage:
  • The free and full consent of both parties;
  • A minimum age for marriage of 18 years of age for both parties;
  • Recognition of and prohibition against the various forms of forced marriage and related harmful practices, including: child marriage, situations of sexual slavery and forced labor, bride kidnapping, trafficking of women and girls, wife inheritance, marriage as settlement or payment, international marriage brokering, and polygamy;
  • A system for the registration of all marriages, births and deaths;
  • Granting the same legal status to parties in customary and/or religious marriages as those in civil marriages;
  • Criminal penalties for violation of the law;
  • Civil remedies for victims;
  • The legal consequences of a forced or child marriage (automatic annulment or right to divorce);
  • Public education campaigns about human rights, women’s rights and laws on forced and child marriage aimed at raising awareness in both urban and rural areas; and
  • Trainings for all relevant agencies; the legal sector, including judges, prosecutors, law enforcement; advocates; social services; education, and; third-sector support agencies regarding human rights standards on forced and child marriage.