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Practice guidance toolkit for assessing capacity to consent to marriage

This practice guidance toolkit has been developed to assist practitioners working to support people with learning disabilities to recognise and take appropriate action when there is a risk of forced marriage. It is designed to be used by any practitioner involved in assessing capacity to consent to marriage and provides resources and tools to aid practitioners in doing so.

The toolkit seeks to supplement existing multi-agency statutory guidelines published by the UK Government Forced Marriage Unit and practitioners are advised that they must also adhere to their specific professional guidelines and Local Authority and Health Trust policies relevant to this area of their practice.

Download the toolkit (PDF)

My Marriage My Choice – Case study collection

Change needs to happen to keep people safe. Forced marriage of people with learning disabilities is different to forced marriage of people without learning disability and, as such, it is often not recognised as forced by families, faith leaders or professionals. This document tells the stories of people with learning disabilities who have been forced to marry. The individuals depicted in these case studies are fictional; each story is a composite creation based on the real experiences of multiple people.

We hope that by highlighting the experiences of people with learning disabilities who are forced to marry we will open up debates by and for practitioners so that changes to safeguarding policy and practice happen more quickly and effectively. We hope that the case studies will provide practitioners and others with a greater understanding of the issues.

Download the case study collection (PDF)

My Marriage My Choice – Summary of findings

This document summarises the main findings of the research project and makes recommendations based on the emerging issues. The document is available in a variety of formats:

My Marriage My Choice - Film

This film was produced in partnership with people with learning disabilities, family carers and practitioners, and it is designed to be accessible to all groups. The film includes powerful real stories and discussion of the key issues. Please be aware that some content may be upsetting, particularly where real-life experiences are recounted.

This resource is available as a one 30-minute film or as four shorter segments. It is available in a range of different languages using the embedded videos below or by visiting our YouTube channel.


English with subtitles




Film Parts Playlist

My Marriage My Choice – Workbooks

These workbooks are designed to assist in building greater awareness of the issues around the forced marriage of people with learning disabilities. They are designed to be used independently by individuals and community groups, or used by practitioners working alongside people with learning disabilities and their families. These workbooks can be used on their own or together with the film.

Understanding Forced Marriage – A Workbook for People with Learning Disabilities

This workbook will tell you what forced marriage is and tell you how to get help when there is a risk of forced marriage to you or someone you know.

Download the workbook (PDF)


Understanding Forced Marriage – A Workbook for Families and Carers

This workbook will help families and carers to understand that people with learning disabilities must be able to consent to marriage for themselves and must have the capacity to do so or they are at risk of breaking the law in allowing or making someone marry.

Download the workbook (PDF)

Journal papers

Clawson, R., Patterson, A., Fyson, R. & McCarthy, R. (2020) The demographics of forced marriage of people with learning disabilities: findings from a national database. Journal of Adult Protection 22 (2) 59-74

Clawson, R & Fyson, R (2017) Forced marriage of people with learning disabilities: a human rights issue, Disability & Society 32 (6) 810-830

Rauf, B., Saleem, N., Clawson, R., Sanghera, M. and Marston, G., 2013. Forced marriage: implications for mental health and intellectual disability services Advances in Psychiatric Treatment. 19(2), 135-143

Clawson, 2013. Safeguarding People with Learning Disabilities at Risk of Forced Marriage – issues for inter-agency practice Social Work & Social Sciences Review- An International Journal of Applied Research. Vol 16 (3) 20-36

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