Forced marriage

Forced marriage is not the same as an arranged marriage.

A forced marriage is where one or both people do not or cannot consent to the marriage.

Abuse and pressure put on people to marry against their will can be physical, emotional, psychological and financial abuse.

The UK’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) have outlined the following reasons why people fore others into marriage:

  • To control unwanted behaviour and sexuality, and prevent ‘unsuitable’ relationships, i.e. with people outside their ethnic, cultural, caste or religious group
  • To protect perceived cultural or religious ideals
  • Family ‘honour’ or long-standing family commitments
  • Peer group or family pressure
  • To ensure land, property and wealth remain in the family
  • To strengthen family links
  • To assist claims for residence and citizenship
  • To provide a carer for a disabled family member / reduce the ‘stigma’ of disability

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)

Related document

Forced marriage (PDF, 148KB)

Related websites

GOV.UK – Stop forced marriage 

GOV.UK – Forced marriage 

Childline – Forced marriage 

BBC Forced marriage 

What is forced marriage? – Karma Nirvana

Related agencies

Karma Nirvana – 0800 599 9247

Forced marriage unit – 020 7008 0151 (Out of hours 020 7008 1500)

North East Lincolnshire Women’s Aid – 01472 575757

National Domestic Violent Helpline – 0808 2000 247

Humberside Police Emergency – 999

Humberside Police Non-emergency – 101

Housing advice (8.30am – 5.30pm) – 01472 326296 option 1

NELC Children’s Integrated Front Door – 01472 326292 option 2

Respect – 0808 802 4040