Forced Marriage Guidance

Forced Marriage Guidance for Operational Staff

Forced Marriage: Freedom Charity – visit

Women and men, adults and children may all find themselves victims of a forced marriage. Since 16 June 2014 forcing someone to marry has become a criminal offence in England and Wales under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. Alongside the Act, new practice guidance and procedures have been issued which apply to all professionals who may come into contact with a child or a vulnerable adult. There are specific actions and responsibilities detailed within the guidance which all practitioners should read and follow. In this paper we look at the overview of forced marriage and a subsequent paper will highlight the key aspects of the guidance.

Key principles

  • Forced marriage is a form of violence against women and men; it is domestic abuse, a serious abuse of human rights, and where a minor is involved, child abuse.
  • The motives that drive parents to force their children to marry should not be accepted as justification for denying them the right to choose a marriage partner and enter freely into marriage.
  • All professionals working within statutory agencies need to be aware of their responsibilities and obligations when working with suspected or actual victims of forced marriage and honour-based violence. They may only have one chance to speak to a victim and possibly only one chance to save a life. If the victim is allowed to leave without the right support and advice being offered, that one chance might be wasted.
  • A multi agency approach is critical.

Forced Marriage: Overview from Reconstruct – Download

Forced Marriage: Multi-Agency Guidelines – Download

Our main message that we want to share with colleagues is that if they suspect a child is at risk of being subject to forced marriage or honour based violence (or indeed this has happened) the main thing they must not do is share this with the child’s parents. They should however contact their manager and decide a way forward.

The Forced Marriage Unit can offer assistance and support workers in these next steps.

For advice and assistance contact:
Forced Marriage Unit, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, King Charles Street, London, SW1A 2AH
Call: 020 7008 0151 (Mon-Fri: 09.00-17.00)
For all out of hours emergencies, please telephone 020 7008 1500 and ask to speak to the Global Response Centre

Guidance for Social Workers, Police Officers, Education and Health Professionals can be obtained from the Foreign Commonwealth Office

honour based violence

Forced Marriage and Learning Disabilities: Multi-Agency Practice Guidelines

The majority of the cases of forced marriage reported to date in the UK involve South Asian families (Forced Marriage Unit). The prevalence of learning disabilities in South Asian communities is up to three times higher than in other communities, primarily for reasons of social and material deprivation as well as issues over access to healthcare (Learning Disabilities and Ethnicity , Department of Health, 2001, pg. 10).

These practice guidelines have been developed to assist professionals encountering cases of forced marriage of people with learning disabilities. Please click here


But it’s not fair (by Aneeta Prem) is a fictional account of different perspectives on forced marriages that’s useful reading for school children and teachers
Download But It’s Not Fair by Aneeta Prem

‘Right to choose’ campaign videos
The Forced Marriage Unit commissioned 3 short videos to highlight the increased reports of forced marriage during the Summer holidays. These videos show how to spot the signs of forced marriage and focus on 3 young people all affected by these issues.  Link here;

Awareness of Forced Marriage – Free Online Course

Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 forced marriages of British citizens take place every year. Forced marriage is now illegal and the first prosecutions have taken place.

This free online course has been developed with the Forced Marriage Unit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Home Office. The course raises awareness, challenge perceptions and informs you of the correct actions to take.

Click here to access the course

Film: Devastating Impact of Forced Marriage on Victims and Families

The Forced Marriage Unit has released a new film demonstrating the devastating impact of forced marriage on victims and their families. The film aims to raise public awareness of the issue and warns of the criminal consequences of involvement

Honour based violence; one young person’s real story; The End and the Beginning – My Story

What to do if you are worried about a child. To discuss concerns or make a referral: