Finding the right support
A forced marriage is a marriage conducted without the consent of one or both parties and where consent is obtained under duress (ie you have been made to marry the person involved). This is markedly different from an arranged marriage in which the individuals retain free will and have the choice to accept the arrangement. A forced marriage is illegal. In forced marriage, perpetrators use physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse to pressurise people to marry against their will. Forced marriage is a form of domestic abuse, primarily against women, although not exclusively, and most cases involve young girls aged between 13 and 30.
What should I do?
From June 2014, forcing someone to marry became a criminal offence under the Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014. This crime remains largely under-reported, however, as many victims are too frightened to come forward for fear of the repercussions on their families. If you are being forced to marry against your will or suspect someone else is at risk , advisors are available to provide you with support and protection. Forced marriage is a serious offence and reports will be thoroughly investigated.
How can I report forced marriage?
You can report an incident of forced marriage by contacting Bedfordshire Police on 101. In an emergency, always dial 999.
What is a Forced Marriage Protection Order?
A forced marriage protection order can help if you are:-
- Being forced into marriage
- Already in a forced marriage
A forced marriage protection order is unique to each case and contains legally binding conditions and directions that change the behaviour of a person or persons trying to force someone into marriage.
To apply for an order, visit the Government’s website.
Where can I get help?
Have a look at the listings below or in our directory.
1. ACCM (UK)
ACCM is a Bedfordshire-based charity working to support victims of illegal harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and honour-based abuse among Black, Asian, minority ethnic and other disadvantaged communities
2. Luton All Women's Centre
The Domestic Abuse Service supports vulnerable women who are experiencing domestic abuse, or have suffered it in the past, in Luton and Bedfordshire as a whole. Alongside individual casework, you can access specialist support groups and receive bespoke packages of wraparound care.
Crimestoppers is an independent charity helping police locate criminals and solve crimes through anonymous reporting. The site also provides crime prevention advice for a number of crimes.
Home Office Forced Marriage Unit
The Home Office Forced Marriage Unit was established by the government to provide information and help on forced marriages.
Karma Nirvana is a UK-registered charity that supports victims and survivors of forced marriage and honour-based abuse.
Men's Advice Line
Men’s Advice Line provides practical advice, information and support to male victims of domestic violence as well as family, friends and frontline workers.
National Domestic Violence Helpline
The National Domestic Violence Helpline provides a national service supporting women experiencing domestic violence, their friends, family, colleagues and others calling on their behalf.