Forced Marriage

What is the meaning of Forced marriage

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 or emotional and psychological pressure to marry. This includes physical or sexual violence or threats, or being made to feel you are bringing shame on your family and can fall under the term “Honor Based Violence”

Forced marriage is illegal in England and Wales, it 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)
  • Forcing someone to marry is a crime and can result in a sentence of up to 7 years in prison. 
Person Harmed

Honour Based Violence

Honour Based Violence is an umbrella term that includes various offences and forms of abuse; including physical and sexual: rape, assault, forced abortion, FGM and murder; it also comprises of psychological pressure and threatening and controlling behaviour, including forced suicide, as well as threats to kill and false imprison someone, monitoring and humiliating these crimes are mainly against women, perceived to have behaved in an immoral way and brought shame on their family / community, by breaking their honour code. Honour based Violence is a violation of a persons human rights and can be a form of domestic / sexual violence.


According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) comprises of all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM is a form of child abuse, and an abuse of female adults, again, usually catergorised under honour based violence.

For more information, download this PDF Factsheet

If you report a crime to Staffordshire Police, they will ask you if you are happy for your details to be passed on to the Staffordshire Victim Gateway and Restorative Justice Service. We will automatically receive your contact information and a brief overview of your experience and the crime, if you don’t specify to Staffordshire Police that you don’t want us to make contact with you. If you initially opted out of the service, you can self-refer at any time.

We can provide you with advice, information & emotional and practical support. We can liaise and advocate on your behalf, and introduce and support you to specialist services, who can help you gain the relevant support that can help in your recovery. We will be with you every step of the way. Our support is free and confidential, regardless of whether you have reported a crime or incident to the police, we are here to support you.

Please call us on the number below. You can also email us or click the ‘Contact Us’ button to self-refer:

 0330 0881 339


Crime Prevention Information

Additionally, it may also be useful for you to have advice on crime prevention that may help you to protect yourself in the future. You can find lots of useful information on local crime prevention by clicking here: 

Crime Prevention

Karma Nirvana

Supporting victims of honor based abuse and forced marriage in the UK

National Abuse Helpline

Refuge – Support for all victims of abuse

Is it an emergency?

If you are in immediate danger and support is needed right away, call Staffordshire Police on 999.  If you feel it is a non-emergency, you can log incidents that have happened by calling Staffordshire Police on 101. if you have a hearing impairment, you can use their textphone service on 18001 101

Related Links

If you have left or escaped a forced marriage, or you are concerned or worried about a sibling or friend who is at risk of forced marriage or honor- based violence, The Forced Marriage Unit have put together a survival’s handbook, that includes topic surrounding legal, financial or housing issues, click here

Forced Marriage – A Survival Handbook  

Karma Nirvana – Forced Marriage Leaflet

7 in 10 people who use our Victim Gateway service are happy with the outcome.

7 in 10
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