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My Marriage My Choice started as a research project led by social work researchers at the University of Nottingham and has developed into an online space providing information and resources to people with learning disabilities, their friends and carers and people working with them or interested in forced and unlawful marriage. You can read more here about the findings from the research.

What is forced marriage?

A forced marriage is defined as a 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.

Forcing someone to marry is against the law (Crime, Anti-social Behaviour and Policing Act 2014 s121). The law also makes it very clear that if someone lacks the capacity to make the decision to marry, this is also a forced marriage. This means that if someone does not understand what they are agreeing to when they marry because for example they have a learning disability or mental ill health then this is a forced marriage and against the law whether or not duress plays a part.

For more information about forced marriage see Information Sheet 1.

For more information on the law see Information Sheet 2. 

What is predatory marriage?

A predatory marriage happens when someone marries another (sometimes much older) person usually for the purpose of financial or property gain or to secure UK residency or citizenship. Predatory marriage is not a criminal offence unless the person lacks capacity to consent to marriage (in which case it is a forced marriage) but could be a safeguarding issue. Predatory marriage is more commonly associated with older people who may be experiencing dementia and more easily groomed or coerced into marriage. As marriage invalidates any previous will made, predatory marriage usually enables the widowed spouse to inherit the estate without any change needing to be made to the will. The effects can be devastating on the spouse and/or their family members.

For more information on Predatory Marriage Information Sheet 3 or look on the Justice for Joan website.

Who we are

My Marriage My Choice started as a research project and has developed into this website offering information and resources.

All of our resources were developed in collaboration with the Ann Craft Trust, representatives from a range of professions and survivors of forced marriage.

The original project team members were:





  • Rachael Clawson (Principle investigator) (Associate Professor of Social Work, University of Nottingham)
  • Rachel Fyson (Co-investigator) (Professor of Social Work, University of Nottingham)
  • Michelle McCarthy (Co-investigator) (Professor in Learning Disabilities, University of Kent)
  • Anne Patterson (Research Fellow, University of Nottingham)
  • Luthfa Khan (Forced Marriage Project Lead, Respond)
  • Deborah Kitson (CEO, Ann Craft Trust)

Clawson and Fyson developed and maintain this website.

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