What is a Forced Marriage?
A forced marriage is technically one where an individual is coerced into marrying someone against their will. Pressure can be placed on them to enter into the marriage through:
- being physically threatened
- actual physical violence
- emotional blackmail, e.g. through feeling that they are bringing shame on their family
- financial abuse, e.g. taking someone’s wages
- keeping them isolated and withdrawing them from society.
- How does forced marriage happen?
- Forced marriages usually involve families from South Asia. However, there are cases from the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
How do forced marriages happen?
Sometimes the young woman or man can be forced into marriage on a trip abroad. They might not be aware of what is planned and may have their passport removed once they arrive overseas.
In other cases, it might be that a partner is brought from overseas or that the marriage takes place in the UK with no overseas involvement. The young person may be withdrawn from school without explanation or the marriage may take place during the summer holiday or on an extended visit.
There is no crime of 'forcing someone to marry', although the activities around it may be criminal. For example, families might engage in:
- threatening behaviour
- threats to kill
A Forced Marriage Protection Order can be requested under the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007. This protects both children and adults at risk of being forced into marriage.