‘No One Should Be Terrifed Like I Was!’ Exploring Drivers and Impacts of Child Marriage in Protracted Crises Among Palestinian and Syrian Refugees
Abu Hamad, Bassam
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Exacerbated by 9 years of conflict and displacement, child marriage among Syrian refugees appears to be increasing, while in Gaza, the noticeable reduction in child brides over the past two decades has recently plateaued. This comparative study explores drivers and consequences of child marriage in protracted crises, drawing on mixed-methods research from Gaza and Jordan with married adolescent girls and their parents. Our findings suggest that conflict reignites pre-existing drivers of child marriage, especially conservative norms around family honour and clan inter-marriage. Poverty is a strong driver of child marriage among Syrian refugees, while social protection programmes and educational opportunities for girls have played a protective role in Gaza. In both contexts, our findings underscore the multiple and intersecting negative effects of child marriage on girls’ health and bodily integrity, and point to the urgency of tackling this harmful practice to ensure that no adolescent is left behind.