What is a Forced Marriage?
It is a marriage that takes place without the full and free consent of both parties. Forced can include physically forced, in addition to emotional pressure/duress.
This is very different to an arranged marriage, in which families take a leading role, but the parties have the free will and choice to accept or decline the arrangement. There is no religion that says it is right to force you into a marriage and you are not betraying your faith by refusing such a marriage.
Forced marriage is a fundamental abuse of human rights. Both physical and emotional abuse may be used to coerce people into the marriage.
There are many reasons for forced marriage for example:
- Long standing family commitments and agreements (promised at birth)
- Bereavement of a parent (particularly a father)
- Ensuring the continued care of a child/adult with special needs
- Immigration (assisting claims for UK residence/citizenship)
- Financial Gain/retaining wealth.
What is the Forced Marriage Unit?
The Forced Marriage Unit is a joint initiative of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Home Office. Their trained professionals offer confidential advice and assistance to:
- Those who have been forced into marriage
- Those at risk of being forced into marriage
- People worried about friends or relatives
- Professionals working with actual or potential victims of forced marriage.
The Law on Forced Marriage
The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 makes it a criminal offence to force someone to marry 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)
- Breaching a Forced Marriage Protection Order is also a criminal offence
- The civil remedy of obtaining a Forced Marriage Protection Order through the family courts will continue to exist alongside the new criminal offence, so victims can choose how they wish to be assisted.
Forcing someone to marry can result in a sentence of up to seven years in prison
Disobeying a Forced Marriage Protection Order can result in a sentence of up to five years in prison
Are you at risk of Forced Marriage? Or know someone who maybe at risk?
Contact Cheshire Police on 101 or in an emergency 999
Contact the Forced Marriage Unit
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7008 0151
Email for outreach work: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: Forced Marriage page
Media enquiries: +44 (0) 20 7008 3100
Contact Karma Nirvana
Karma Nirvana is a charity organisation which offers the following:
- A Dedicated Helpline
PO Box 515
Honour Network Helpline: 0800 5999 247 (Contact between 09:30 and 17:00 Monday to Friday).