Forced Marriage

A forced marriage is where one or both people do not (or in cases of people with learning disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and pressure or abuse is used. It is an appalling and indefensible practice and is recognised in the UK as a form of violence against women and men, domestic/child abuse and a serious abuse of human rights.

The pressure put on people to marry against their will can be physical (including threats, actual physical violence and sexual violence) or emotional and psychological (for example, when someone is made to feel like they’re bringing shame on their family). Financial abuse (taking your wages or not giving you any money) can also be a factor.

Legislation 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

If you are concerned that a child or young person may be being forced into marriage, or is already in a forced marriage you must call the Police on 999 and Duty and Advice on 01484 414960.

Local Resources

PDVG is a registered charity that provides support, advice, information and safe accommodation to anyone effected by or experiencing domestic abuse.

PDVG has been in operation delivering a range of specialist domestic abuse services in Kirklees since 2002 when two long standing domestic abuse services merged.  Huddersfield Womens Aid which had been in operation since 1975 and Kirklees Asian and Black Womens Welfare Association which had also been operating services in Huddersfield for over 10 years.

West Yorkshire procedures 

National Resources

HM Government has a useful page on forced marriage including information about Forced Marriage Protection Orders, statutory guidance and practice guidance

Karma Nirvana is an award-winning British human rights charity supporting victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage. Honour crimes are not determined by age, faith, gender or sexuality, we support and work with all victims. They operate a National helpline to support victims in immediate danger, Karma Nirvana offers training to professionals and in schools.

Forced Marriage Awareness

This online course has been developed with the Forced Marriage Unit of the Foreign Office and aims to raise awareness, challenge perceptions and inform you of the correct actions to take should you suspect someone is at risk.

After completing this training you will be able to:

  • Recognise the warning signs of forced marriage
  • Take the right actions to help protect the potential victim
  • Co-operate effectively with other agencies

This course is aimed at all professionals who have a responsibility to safeguard vulnerable children, young people and adults at risk and is aimed specifically at child protection services, health professionals, education professionals, police officers, children’s social care, adult social care and housing authorities.

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