What is a Forced Marriage

A forced marriage is where one or both people do not (or in cases of people with learning disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and pressure or abuse is used.

It is an appalling and indefensible practice and is recognised in the UK as a form of violence against women and men, domestic/child abuse and a serious abuse of human rights.

The pressure put on people to marry against their will can be physical (including threats, actual physical violence and sexual violence) or emotional and psychological (for example, when someone is made to feel like they’re bringing shame on their family). Financial abuse (taking your wages or not giving you any money) can also be a factor.

Taken from the Forced Marriage Unit

STATISTICS JANUARY TO DECEMBER 2013

– The FMU gave advice or support related to a possible forced marriage in 1302 cases1.

1 Cases includes people or groups of people thought to be at potential risk of future forced marriage, those currently going through a forced marriage and those who have already been forced to marry. This statistic includes all initial contacts with the FMU via the helpline or by email relating to a new case.

2 Victim includes people thought to be at potential risk of future forced marriage, those currently going through a forced marriage and those who have already been forced to marry.

3 This includes countries to which a victim is at risk of being taken or has already been taken to in connection with a forced marriage.

– Where the age was known, 15% of cases involved victims2 below 16 years, 25% involved victims aged 16-17, 33% involved victims aged 18-21, 15% involved victims aged 22-25, 7% involved victims aged 26-30, 3% involved victims aged 31+.

– 82% of cases involved female victims and 18% involved male victims.

– The FMU handled cases involving 74 different countries3, including Pakistan (42.7%), India (10.9%), Bangladesh (9.8%), Afghanistan (2.8%), Somalia (2.5%), Iraq (1.5%), Nigeria (1.1%), Saudi Arabia (1.1%), Yemen (1%), Iran (0.8%), Tunisia (0.8%), The Gambia (0.7%), Egypt (0.6%) and Morocco (0.4%). The origin was unknown in 5.4% of cases.

– Within the UK the regional distribution was: London 24.9%, West Midlands 13.6%, South East 9.9%, North West 9.3%, Yorkshire and Humberside 6.8%, East Midlands 4.2%, East Anglia 3.5%, Scotland 2.9%, North East 2%, South West 1.6%, Wales 1.6%, Northern Ireland 0.3%. The region was unknown in 19.4% of cases.

– 97 cases involved victims with disabilities.

– 12 involved victims who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).

If you are concerned about a victim of a potential forced marriage contact the Forced Marriage Unit on :

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