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My Marriage My Choice: exploring forced marriage of adults with learning disabilities and developing knowledge, policy and practice to keep people safe
This two-year study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research - School of Social Care Research (NIHR-SSCR) is led by Rachael Clawson at the University of Nottingham, in collaboration with colleagues at University of Kent, at RESPOND and the Ann Craft Trust.
Forced marriage is defined as marriage without the consent of one or both parties and where duress is a factor (UK Government Forced Marriage Unit). In a forced marriage one or both spouses do not, or cannot, due to lacking capacity, consent to the marriage.
The study explores forced marriage of adults with learning disabilities from a safeguarding perspective with the intention of developing knowledge, policy and practice to support professionals in their work of safeguarding vulnerable children and adults.
Using data from the UK's Forced Marriage Unit and through interviews with people with learning disabilities, their families, faith/community leaders and social work and other professionals with a responsibility for safeguarding vulnerable adults, the findings will provide the basis for a range of ongoing work.
An expert panel will be convened by the Ann Craft Trust (the trust has national and international reach in the area of safeguarding) and will draw together experts to discuss and prioritise findings that will then be translated into a framework for adult social care staff to support recognition of forced marriage and the complexities involved, including a practical tool-kit for assessing capacity to consent.
Furthermore a video/DVD will be produced with the help of and targeted at people with learning disabilities, their family members and community/faith leaders.
Links are ongoing with the UK Forced Marriage Unit in Whitehall, and with officials at the Canadian High Commission and Australian High Commission with a view to using the findings from this project to inform and develop legal frameworks and safeguarding provision in their respective countries.
Find out more about this research.