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Forced Marriage

What is forced marriage? 

Forced marriage is where one or both individuals do not (or in cases of people with learning disabilities or reduced capacity, cannot) consent to the marriage as they are coerced, or abuse is used, to force them to do so.  

In the UK, forced marriage is recognized as a form of domestic or child abuse and a serious abuse of human rights. 

The abuse can be sexual, physical, financial or psychological.  

Force marriage is different to an arranged marriage.  In an arranged marriage, family member take a lead in choosing the bride or groom.  


How to get help 

There is help available if you’ve had FGM or you’re worried that you or someone you know is at risk: 

Call 999 in an emergency. 

A trained professional will give you free advice on what to do next. 

They can also help you: 

  • find a safe place to stay 
  • stop a UK visa if you’ve been forced to sponsor someone 

Additional information  

Forced Marriage Unit – Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Anyone who is worried about being forced into marriage or is worried about a friend can call 020 7008 0151 Mon to Fri, 9 to 5pm; out of hours call 020 70081500; or email; or visit the website 

The Forced Marriage Unit has released a film demonstrating the devastating impact of forced marriage on victims and their families. The film aims to raise public awareness of the issue and warns of the criminal consequences of involvement – you can view the film via this link. 

End the Fear – Greater Manchester  
Anybody who is experiencing domestic or sexual violence and abuse can find help, support and advice on this website. End the Fear also provide support to people who know someone who may be being abused. Read more on the website 

Freedom or Freedom Charity is a UK-based charity formed to give support to victims of forced marriage and violence upon women thought to have brought dishonour on the family. For further information visit the website 

Karma Nirvana is a UK registered Charity that supports victims and survivors of Forced Marriage and Honour Based Abuse. It aims to raise public awareness on the issues, and provides education through accredited training, including seminars, conferences and workshops. It runs the National Honour Network Helpline where call handlers provide confidential listening support, options and guidance to all professionals, victims and survivors of honour based abuse. Call the Helpline on 0800 5999247 or visit the website 

IKWRO the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation provides advice and support to Middle Eastern women and girls living in the UK who are facing ‘honour’ based violence, domestic abuse, forced marriage or female genital mutilation. Find out more on their website 

National Domestic Violence Helpline (24 hour Freephone) run in partnership with Women’s Aid and Refuge, is a national service for women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf. Call the Helpline on 0808 2000 247, email: or visit the website 

Asha offers safe temporary accommodation for South Asian women and children fleeing domestic violence, including forced marriage. Asha also shares advice on benefits, housing and legal issues for women and offers training programmes. Find out more at 

Muslim Women’s Network UK (MWNUK) works to improve the social justice and equality for Muslim women and girls. Visit their website 

Reducing the risk has lots of resources, some in languages other than English on their website at 

See also our Forced Marriage resources for parents, carers, families and the community and for children and young people.