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What is forced marriage?

A forced marriage should not be confused with an arranged marriage. 


Force marriage poster - we are not property, we have the right to decide.  Forced marriage is a crime Arranged marriages often work very well. Forced marriages are where one or both people are 'forced' into a marriage that their families want, without the valid consent of both people, where physical pressure or emotional abuse is used. Victims are sometimes persuaded to return to their country of origin under false pretences.

Forced Marriage Protection Ordershave been introduced to protect victims from being forced into marriage. An order can also be made to protect someone who has already been forced into marriage, to help remove them from the situation.

Those who fail to obey an order may be found in contempt of court and sent to prison for up to two years.

It should be remembered cultural acceptance in some nationalities, does not mean accepting unacceptable practices and traditions.

What possible offences are being committed?

Forced marriage is a serious offence which can involve a number of crimes:

  • common assault
  • domestic abuse
  • forced marriage
  • cruelty to persons under 16 (including neglect and abandonment)
  • failure to secure regular attendance at school of a registered pupil
  • theft (e.g. passport)
  • child abduction
  • abduction of an unmarried girl under the age of 16 from parent or guardian
  • abduction of a woman by force or for the sake of her property
  • forced repatriation
  • rape
  • aiding and abetting a criminal offence
  • kidnapping
  • false imprisonment
  • murder

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