Forced Marriages

Forced marriage is where a person is coerced into marrying someone against their will. Pressure is exerted to accept a marriage proposal and this may be accompanied by emotional pressure, violence, sexual abuse. In 2006 the Home Office Minister Baroness Scotland stated “forced marriage is an abuse of human rights and a form of domestic violence which cannot be justified on religious or cultural grounds”.

Forced marriage is different to an arranged marriage where there is a choice and consent from both parties.

At present anyone found guilty of forcing someone into marriage can be prosecuted for kidnap, false imprisonment or rape. Later this year victims will have further protection when the Forced Marriage Civil Protection Act is implemented.

Victims do feel very isolated and often that there is no way out of their situation, but there are people who can give help, advice, information and support so it is important to speak out and not put up with something which is clearly an infringement of the human rights of any individual. A person has a right to choose who they wish to marry and have a right not to be forced into something against her/his will.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has set up a dedicated unit - The Forced Marriage Unit - which has a helpline staffed by trained professionals who can give advice and assistance to those who have been forced into marriage overseas or are at risk of being forced into marriage. They can also provide advice and support for people who may be worried about relatives and friends who find themselves victims of forced marriages.

If you need help or advice contact one of the following agencies.

  • Ashiana Project London:
    020 8539 0427


  • www.castewatchuk.org
    Voluntary organisation committed to the elimination of caste discrimination providing support and other services to people who are the subject of caste discrimination in order to relieve their needs.

  • Domestic Violence Helpline Greater Manchester:
    0161 636 7525

  • Equality Advisory & Support (EASS)
    0808 800 0082
    Advises and assists individuals on issues relating to equality and human rights across England, Scotland and Wales

  • Forced Marriage Unit:
    020 7008 0151
    Enter Forced Marriages into search bar at top of site

  • Freedom Charity:
    0845 607 0133
    Freedom charity was established to raise awareness of the issues of children and young people who are at risk or are subjected to violent crimes, dishonour-based violence and forced marriages throughout the UK by engaging children and young people and offering advice, information and guidance.

  • Hemat Gryffe Women's Aid Glasgow:
    0141 353 0859

  • Honour Network Survivors Helpline:
    0800 5999 247

    National helpline for forced marriages and honour based killings, staffed mainly by survivors of forced marriages. Run by Karma Nirvana.

  • Modern Slavery Helpline (also referred to as Human Trafficking)
    0800 0121 700

  • Scotland's Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline
    0800 027 1234

    24 hour Helpline providing information and support for anyone with experience of domestic abuse or forced marriage, as well as their family members, friends, colleagues and professionals who support them. The Helpline provides a confidential, sensitive service to anyone who calls
  • www.mixtogether.org
    Online help site for mixed couples (mixed race, religion, caste), whose relationships are opposed by family or community.

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