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Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence

What is a forced marriage?

A forced marriage is a marriage that takes place without the full and free consent of both parties.

In a forced marriage, you are coerced into marrying someone against your will. You may be physically threatened or emotionally blackmailed to do so, or you may be a victim of psychological abuse. Forced marriage cannot be justified on any religious or cultural basis.

Forced marriages are not the same as arranged marriages, where you can choose whether to accept the arrangement or not. In an arranged marriage, families take the lead in selecting a marriage partner but the couple has the free will and choice to accept or decline the arrangement. The tradition of arranged marriages has operated successfully within many communities and countries for a very long time.

Information sheet on forced marriage

  • Statutory guidance issued under section 63Q of the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007. See www.legislation.gov.uk.
  • Guidance is for all persons and bodies who exercise public function in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults.

Multi-Agency practice guidelines: Handling cases of forced marriage 

  • Step-by-step advice for frontline workers. Essential reading for health professionals, educational staff, police, children’s social care, adult social services and local authority housing

Forced Marriage and Learning Disabilities: Multi-Agency Practice Guidelines 

  • Developed to help professionals dealing with forced marriage of people with learning disabilities.
  • The guidance was developed with learning disability charities, the Ann Craft Trust and the Judith Trust.

Free training on Forced Marriage

What is Honour Based Violence?

Honour based violence is a violent crime or incident which may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family or community.

It is often linked to family members or acquaintances who mistakenly believe someone has brought shame to their family or community by doing something that is not in keeping with the traditional beliefs of their culture. For example, honour based violence might be committed against people who:

  • become involved with a boyfriend or girlfriend from a different culture or religion
  • want to get out of an arranged marriage
  • want to get out of a forced marriage
  • wear clothes or take part in activities that might not be considered traditional within a particular culture

Safe Lives   Resources for identifying the risk individuals face

Resources for professionals

List of Support Agencies

National domestic abuse helpline
Phone: 0808 2000 247

Greater Manchester police domestic violence unit
Phone: 0161 872 5050 (ask for the domestic violence unit)

If you think someone is being subject to a forced marriage or Honour Based Violence please contact Greater Manchester Police on 101, or 999 if it is an emergency.

Safeguarding Children Click here to access the Safeguarding Children Board