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Forced Marriage

Forced Marriage Image

Download the Warwickshire Forced Marriage poster here.

What is Forced Marriage?
Unlike an arranged marriage, where the prospective spouses may choose
whether or not they wish to accept the partnership, a forced marriage is when one
or both spouses do not consent to the marriage, or consent is extracted through
From June 2014, forcing someone to marry against their will is a crime and
anyone found guilty can face up to seven years in prison.

Key Motivations of Forced Marriage

  • Controlling behaviour and sexuality (including perceived
    promiscuity, or being gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans), in particular the
    behaviour and sexuality of women.
  • Protecting “family honour”
  • Responding to peer group or family pressure
  • Attempting to strengthen family links
  • Ensuring land, property and wealth remain within the family
  • Protecting perceived cultural ideals
  • Protecting perceived religious ideals which are misguided
  • Preventing “unsuitable” relationships, e.g. outside the ethnic, cultural,
    religious or caste group
  • Assisting claims for residence and citizenship
  • Fulfilling long-standing family commitments.

While it is important to have an understanding of these motives, forced marriage
should be recognised as a human rights abuse.

Forced Marriage Warning Signs:


  • Truancy
  • Decline in performance or punctuality
  • Low motivation at school
  • Poor exam results
  • Being withdrawn from education by those with parental responsibility
  • Not allowed to attend extra-curricular activities.


  • Self harm
  • Attempted suicide
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Isolation
  • Substance misuse.

Police Involvement

  • Other young people within the family reported missing
  • Reports of domestic violence or breaches of the peace at the family home
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • The individual reported for offences e.g. shoplifting or substance misuse.

Family History

  • Siblings forced to marry
  • Early marriage of siblings
  • Family disputes
  • Running away from home
  • Unreasonable restrictions e.g. “house arrest.”


  • Poor performance
  • Poor attendance
  • Limited career choices
  • Not allowed to work
  • Unable to attend business trips
  • Unreasonable financial control e.g. confiscation of wages/income.

Useful Resources and Contacts

Government information, details for the Forced Marriage Unit and links to posters, resources and videos 

Government video showing the devastating effect of Forced Marriage 

National poster 

Online training and resource pack (registration required)  

Karma Nirvana is a national charity supporting victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage. 

Refuge is a countywide service which provides support to women, men and children experiencing domestic violence in Warwickshire. This includes culturally specific services, including support to victims of FGM, honour based violence and forced marriage.

Warwickshire Case Study: Forced Marriage Protection Order
A Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO) is an order designed to protect someone who is at risk of being forced into a marriage or who is in a forced marriage. FMPOs have been successfully used in Warwickshire.
In case A, a Police Officer received concerning information regarding a 16 year old whose father was planning to force her into marriage in his home country. The Warwickshire Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) completed background checks on the family and linked in with the national Forced Marriage Unit to safeguard the girl involved and secure a FMPO. The father is currently in his home country and will be spoken to by the Police on his return. The girl is now in the care of family in the UK and the Police will be notified immediately if she appears at an airport and may be at risk of leaving the country.

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