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what is
What is Forced Marriage?

This is when a marriage is conducted without the valid consent of one or both parties and where duress is a factor.

One of three things are required for Consent to be valid

Voluntary -  a decision must be made by the individual and must not be influenced by pressure from friends or family.

Informed -  the individual must be helped as much as possible to understand the information.

Capacity - the individual must be capable of giving consent.  This mean they understand the information given to them to be able to make an informed decision. 

What is the Difference Between an Arranged Marriage and Forced Marriage?

With arranged marriages, the family or both spouses take a leading role in arranging the marriage. 

The decision to accept the arrangement remain with the prospective spouses. 

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The Capacity to Consent to Marriage

If an adult does not consent to a marriage then that marriage is viewed as a forced marriage.  It does not matter whatever the reason for the reason why the marriage is taking place. 

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Forced Marriage cannot be Justified on Religious Grounds

•No religion endorses forced marriage

•A forced marriage is a form of abuse

•Abuse is not a part of any culture no matter whether the victim’s family are Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu or Jewish. 

•There are no religious texts to promote this harmful practice. 

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Forcing Someone into Marriage is now a Criminal Offence

The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 has now provided a route to protect victims.  Victims now have the ability to take action against perpetrators either through the criminal justice route or the civil courts. 

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Forced Marriage Protection Orders

Forced Marriage Protection Orders


The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 also have civil orders called a Forced Marriage Protection Order that are legally binding requirements to protect a person at risk. 


This Order include conditions that will:

•Protect victims from being taken overseas or bringing them back.

•Stop a person from being forced into a marriage for religious reasons or any other reason

•Stop a person from being hurt or harmed or threatened.

•Stop them from being harassed.

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Advice to Professionals


Use a relative, friend, community leader or a neighbour as an interpreter. 


A Victim-centred Approach

•Do not stereotype or judge the victim

•Respect confidentiality at all times

•Listen to your victim

•Respect their wishes and be sensitive to their needs

•Be culturally aware

•Do not attempt to mediate

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Forced Marriage Unit

The Forced Marriage Unit was set up in January 2005.  It operates inside both the United Kingdom AND overseas.  They will provide consular assistance to British nationals and those with dual nationality.

Forced Marriage Unit Contact Information

Telephone: 020 7008 0151

From overseas:  +44 (0)20 7008 0151

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Out of Hours: 020 7008 0151 and ask for the Global Response Centre

Call 999 in an emergency

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