Assessing the Impact of Covid-19 on People Vulnerable to, or Already Experiencing, Forced Marriage 


Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Duration: October 2020-March 2022
Project Lead: Dr Helen McCabe
Programme: Law and Policy
Partner: Karma Nirvana

About the project

Covid-19 and Covid-related decisions are having significant impacts on children and adults vulnerable to, and already experiencing, the crime of forced marriage. Our mixed-methods project will chart and understand this impact, inform evaluation of the UK's response to Covid-19, and shape on-going policy regarding the UK’s pandemic response. We consider the uneven economic and social impact of the pandemic, and the ethical dimensions of unequal impacts of Covid-related decision-making on this vulnerable group, and seek to impact how civil society and the voluntary sector support vulnerable people. 

The government's Forced Marriage Unit and the charity Karma Nirvana (which provides a national forced marriage helpline) have warned about the significant impact of the pandemic on forced marriage in the UK. We designed this project with both organisations, and will work with them to analyse data about the impact of Covid-19 on those at risk of, or experiencing, forced marriage; and to record and analyse the challenges faced in the pandemic, evaluate the efficacy of mitigation strategies, and formulate new policies and practises for protection and response. 
Within the first 6 months, we will have co-created an accurate account of the economic and social impact of Covid-19 and Covid-related decision-making on victims of forced marriage, and the ethical implications of unequal impacts. We will then continue to chart the changing risk environment, while co-developing policy reports and recommendations for the UK government, NGO practice responses, and other stakeholders, to improve the on-going response to Covid-19 and build community resilience


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