A Forced Marriage is where a person who does not consent to a marriage planned by others (usually family members) is being forced to marry a person they do not wish to marry.
Forced Marriage is recognised in the UK as an act of abuse and violence and forcing someone into a marriage is now a criminal offence in the UK. It is also a criminal offence to take a British citizen to another country and force them into a marriage overseas. Everyone has the Right to Choose who they marry.
Whilst the majority of Forced Marriage cases involve females under 21 years old, Forced Marriage also affects males and older females.
The types of abuse that are usually inflicted on a victim of Forced Marriage are known as Honour Based Violence (HBV) and usually involve coercive control, physical, emotional, psychological, financial abuse, sexual assaults (if a woman does not consent to marriage then it could be that she does not consent to sex within a forced marriage – therefore this is rape).
For more advice and guidance on Forced Marriage for victims, professionals, family members or the general public visit the Forced Marriage website.
If you are worried or think that you may be forced into a marriage there are many agencies that can help you, some are listed below:
Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) +44 (0) 20 7008 0151
Palm Cove Society: 0113 2302271
Karma Nirvana helpline: 0800 5999287
Sharan Project 0844 504 3231
If you are in immediate danger of being forced into a marriage or taken abroad to be married, telephone 999 and ask for the police and tell the police that you (or someone you know) are being forced into a marriage and need immediate help.