Study links child marriage among Syrian refugees to domestic violence

A study looking into the link between mental and maternal health has revealed that child marriage among Syrian refugees often results in physical and sexual violence, as stakeholders have expressed negative attitudes toward child marriage.

The study, titled “the connection between mental health and maternal health around childbirth among married Syrian refugee women under the age of 18,” was launched on Wednesday by the Higher Population Council (HPC). It aimed at understanding the perspective of Syrian adolescent girls’ and mothers’ experiences in the context of conflict and displacement and exploring the drivers that increase the vulnerability of young, early married women to poor sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence.

Secretary-General of the council Issa Masarweh indicated that the study was conducted in two phases: the first consisted of holding focus groups with the participation of the relevant authorities, i.e. stakeholders, who have expressed negative attitudes toward child marriage, while the second phase used the qualitative survey approach to give voice to Syrian refugee women who were married before the age of 18 years.

Results also showed that child marriage among Syrian women as refugees in Jordan can be attributed to ideological, economic, legal, security and personal factors, such as protecting the girl’s honor, economic difficulties, lawlessness, security concerns, family disintegration, and transformation in social networks. These factors were closely linked to the Syrian conflict, as well as the ensuing refugee crisis, the study indicated.

The study, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, was conducted by the HPC in cooperation with the University of Jordan, the Scotland-based University of Edinburgh and the University of the West of Scotland, with the support of the Arab Council for Social Sciences within the “Health and Livelihoods in the Arab Region: Welfare, Fragility and Conflict” program.

Source: Jordan News Agency