Forced marriage

You have the right to choose who you marry, when you marry or if you marry at all. Forced marriage is when you face physical or emotional and psychological pressure to marry. This includes physical or sexual violence or threats, or being made to feel you are bringing shame on your family.

Forced marriage is illegal in England and Wales. This includes:

  • taking someone overseas to force them to marry (whether or not the forced marriage takes place)
  • marrying someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they’re pressured to or not)

Forcing someone to marry can result in a sentence of up to 7 years in prison.

Forced Marriage Protection Orders

The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) can advise on how to ask the court for a Forced Marriage Protection Order which is designed to protect you from forced marriage.

In an emergency, an order can be made to protect you immediately.

Forced marriage abroad

Contact the FMU if you think you or someone you know is about to be taken abroad to marry. Contact the nearest British embassy if you are already abroad.

Contact the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) if you are trying to stop a forced marriage or you need help leaving a marriage you have been forced into.

Forced Marriage Unit

Telephone: 020 7008 0151
From overseas: +44 (0)20 7008 0151
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Out of hours: 020 7008 1500 (ask for the Global Response Centre)


Karma Nirvana

Supporting victims of honour crimes and forced marriages since 1993
Honour Network Helpline: 0800 5999 247

Staffordshire Victims Gateway

For advice and support call us on:
0330 0881 339