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Forced marriage

It is now illegal to force someone to marry against their will. Forced marriage is a crime where one or both spouses do not, or cannot, consent to the marriage and force is involved.  This can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure. In some cases, victims suffer violence and abuse.

Forced marriage is not the same as an 'arranged marriage' which is a cultural practice, is not unlawful, and involves the consent of both spouses.

In June 2014, new legislation was introduced meaning that forcing someone to marry against their will is a crime and anyone found guilty of this can face up to seven years in prison. People facing or already a victim of forced marriage may be suffering from:

  • domestic abuse or rape
  • depression
  • poor performance at work, school or college or often being absent
  • no control over their own money
  • a surprise engagement to an apparent stranger
  • they may not come back from a visit to another country
  • early or unwanted pregnancy

If you or someone you know has concerns about being forced into marriage, please report it to the police or a support agency.

Getting advice and help
There is help available throughout West Mercia for people who are, or who may be at risk of forced marriage, honour based violence and female genital mutilation (FGM). West Mercia Police have trained, specialist officers who can be contacted by calling 101.

The following organisations and helplines also provide a range of support services:

Forced Marriage Unit

0207 008 0151

Karma Nirvana Helpline

0800 5999 247
The Karma Nirvana Helpline operates between 9-5 Monday to Friday.
Outside of these hours and if urgent call 999.