Monday, 23 July 2012

Forced Marriage


What is Forced Marriage

Forced marriage is when a person is forced to marry someone chosen for them. The person can be forced by their family, people they look up to, or their community.

This is not acceptable within UK law.

Forced marriage is a form of abuse because it takes away a person’s human right to make their choice of life partner; There is also no religious or faith requirement that says you have to marry a certain person you don’t want to.

Someone can be forced into a marriage in different ways:

·               being prevented from leaving the home or from going to school/work/college
·               being taken out of the country against their will to get married
·               being beaten or threatened with physical violence to make you marry the chosen person.

·         being made to feel that you will shame your family or community of you do not go through with the marriage.
·         being told you will not be accepted in the family anymore if you refuse the marriage. This kind of behaviour is also known as emotional blackmail.
·         you are disabled so you must marry whoever is chosen to marry you.

Through deception
  • In a number of cases, young people have sometimes been tricked into travelling to a country where they are to be married, thinking they are just going on holiday.
What are the reasons for Forced Marriage?

         Controlling unwanted behaviour and sexuality, particularly that of women
         Protecting perceived cultural or religious ideals which can often be misguided
         Attempting to strengthen family links
         Family honour or long-standing family commitments
         Ensuring land remains within the family
         Assisting claims for residence and citizenship
         Providing a carer for a disabled family member


What is an Arranged Marriage?
An Arranged marriage is when the family or parents are mainly responsible for matching their daughters or sons with possible partners but the final choice to marry belongs to the person. This more traditional method of finding possible partners is common within many communities across the world and some young people are happy to allow their parents the responsibility of looking for spouses for them.

Forced marriage is not a practice that only affects Asian people. It can happen to anyone in society, despite their faith or ethnicity.


It is important for Scotland to be consulted on Forced Marriage separately as it is a devolved issue for the Scottish Government and will not be covered by UK law if Forced Marriage takes place in Scotland.

At present, there is no law expressly prohibiting forced marriage in Scotland and it is not a specific criminal offence. However, there is a range of current criminal offences and civil remedies which may be relevant in relation to forced marriage.Earlier this year the Scottish Government carried out a consultation to see whether civil legislation should be introduced to help victims of Forced Marriage in Scotland. The Scottish Government is currently considering the responses to the consultation and will make an announcement about legislation in due course.    

Frequent Questions

Question - What do I do if I am going overseas and scared of being forced into marriage?

(i) Before you go - in the first instance contact one of the agencies above for advice and support. They will let you know your options.

They will need as much detailed information as possible such as

  • The full address of the place where you are going abroad.
  • Your travel dates: the date you are leaving and the date you are expected to return
  • Your flight details: Airline and Flight No.
  • A copy of your British passport
  • A mobile phone number
  • The names of people you are traveling with

(ii) Keep Hidden with you

  • Money
  • A Mobile Phone or a Sim Card
  • The contact details of the nearest British High Commission or your support worker in the UK.

(iii) After you Go

If you are forced into a marriage once you are overseas, contact the nearest British High Commission or your support worker. They will do their best to rescue you and repatriate you to the UK.   If you don’t have money to return to the UK, the Forced Marriage Unit will give you a loan to buy a ticket to return to the UK.

Question - I am being forced into marriage and want to leave home?

If you are woman you can get refuge accommodation.
If you are a man, you will need to contact the support agencies’ worker to discuss your options.

Question - What is the Law on Forced Marriage?
Currently, in Scotland there is no specific law that you can use to prevent forced marriage. But, there are other areas of civil law that can be used to protect you from being forced into a marriage.

REMEMBER: If you have already been forced into a marriage then it may be possible to dissolve the marriage.  You will need specific legal advice for your situation.


Amina Muslim Women's Resource Centre
Helpline 0808 801 0301
(Mon-Fri 9.30-5.00)
Forced Marriage Unit
Website address:
Telephone: 020 7008 0151
Email for outreach work:

Hemat Gryffe Women's Aid
Website address:
Telephone: 0141 353 0859

Scottish Women's Aid
Website address:
Telephone: 0131 226 6606

Shakti Women's Aid
Website address:
Telephone: 0131 475 2399

We would like to thank Shakti Women's Aid for supporting this resource.

No comments:

Post a Comment