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Forced Marriages

The Government takes forced marriage very seriously. It is a form of domestic violence and an abuse of human rights. Victims can suffer many forms of physical and emotional damage including being held unlawfully captive, assaulted and repeatedly raped.

A marriage contracted without the valid and free consent of one or both parties involving physical and/or mental duress.

It is a violation of human rights, a form of domestic abuse and for young people, a child protection concern. For an adult without the capacity to give informed consent to a marriage, it is a safeguarding adults concern.

It is not the same as an Arranged Marriage. This is the personal choice of an informed adult and takes place without any form of duress and with the consent and full knowledge of both parties.

If you are being forced into marriage you can get confidential advice and help.

Call the Forced Marriage Unit on 020 7008 0151 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. Outside those hours call 020 7008 1500 and ask for the Foreign Office Response Centre. Email fmu@fco.gov.uk

The Forced Marriage Unit will also give advice to practitioners or concerned friends. In some cases, the Unit will repatriate people taken out of the country.

If you are under 18 years, confide in a teacher, college tutor, Connexions Adviser, School Nurse, Youth Worker or your GP – any adult you trust. You can contact Children’s Social Care on 0161 342 4150

If you are in immediate danger of being moved to another part of the UK or out of the country, or you are facing threats of violence, kidnap, rape or you are being hurt - call the Police at the earliest opportunity on 999. Tell the Police you are being forced into marriage and tell them if you are being hurt or threatened.

If you run away from home to avoid a forced marriage, contact the Police and tell them you are safe, do not want to contact your family but require protection. Also contact the Forced Marriage Unit for help.

How big is the problem? Who is affected?

  • The FMU deals with around 300 cases per year, of which around 25% result in rescue or repatriation
  • Both young women and men (who constitute 15% of the cases FMU deal with)
  • Majority are aged 15 – 24 but 30% are minors, some as young as 8 years old.
  • Majority of cases from South Asia: Pakistan (65%), Bangladesh (25%), India
  • Some cases from other countries: Cyprus, Jordan, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Mali, Norway, Bosnia and Hong Kong.

Forced Marriage is not against the law in itself but the act of forcing someone into a marriage usually involves a number of offences such as kidnap, assault, rape. Government has introduced new Forced Marriage Protection Orders.

Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007

  • Courts have power to make Forced Marriage Protection Orders; wide discretion in the type of injunctions they can make.
  • Courts can make order to protect the victim after a forced marriage and help remove them from that situation.
  • If significant risk of harm, courts can add power of arrest to the injunction.
  • Breach of an injunction would not itself be a criminal offence, but would be a contempt of court, courts would have the full range of sanctions available to them, including imprisonment
  • Act enables people to apply for an injunction at the county courts, rather than just the high courts
  • Act enables third parties to apply for an injunction on behalf of someone else (family member, friend or organisation)
  • Act places Forced Marriage Unit guidelines on a statutory footing
Contact Information
Contact by Post

Community Safety Unit
Tameside MBC
Dukinfield Town Hall
King Street
Dukinfield
Tameside
SK16 4LA(Postcode)een 9am
Contact by Telephone
0161 342 4064
Contact by Fax
0161 342 2379