Forced marriage

Date published: 19 November 2020 13:44

What forced marriage is

You have the right to choose who you marry, when you marry or if you marry at all.

Forced marriage is when you face physical pressure to marry (for example, threats, physical violence or sexual violence) or emotional and psychological pressure (e.g. if you’re made to feel like you’re bringing shame on your family).

Forced marriage is a marriage that is carried out without one or both parties’ consent, conducted against their will. Forced marriage is different to an arranged marriage, in that both parties consent to help from families or a third party in choosing their spouse in an arranged marriage.

Force marriage offences

Forced marriage is illegal in England and Wales. This includes:

  • taking someone overseas to force them to marry (whether or not the forced marriage takes place)
  • marrying someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they’re pressured to or not)

Click here for more information.

If you have concerns about forced marriage, please call South Yorkshire Police on 101. If a life is at risk, call 999.

You can also contact Karma Nirvana, a national charity that specialises in help and support for victims of honour based abuse and forced marriage, on 0800 5999 247.

The Forced Marriage Unit can also be contacted by calling 020 7008 0151, emailing fmu@fco.gov.uk or on their social media pages (@FMUnit on Twitter).