Quick Exit

Forced marriage

What is a forced marriage? +

You have the right to choose who you marry, when you marry or if you marry at all.

Forced marriage is when you face physical pressure to marry (for example, threats, physical violence or sexual violence) or emotional and psychological pressure (eg if you’re made to feel like you’re bringing shame on your family). 

Forced marriage is illegal in England and Wales. This includes:

  • taking someone overseas to force them to marry (whether or not the forced marriage takes place)
  • marrying someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they’re pressured to or not)

Forcing someone to marry can result in a sentence of up to 7 years in prison. 

I or someone I know needs help 

Contact the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) if you’re trying to stop a forced marriage or you need help leaving a marriage you’ve been forced into. 

Forced Marriage Unit


Telephone: 020 7008 0151

From overseas: +44 (0)20 7008 0151

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Out of hours: 020 7008 1500 (ask for the Global Response Centre)

Call 999 in an emergency

A trained professional will give you free advice on what to do next.

They can also help you:

  • find a safe place to stay
  • stop a UK visa if you’ve been forced to sponsor someone

Forced marriage protection orders +

You can ask the court for a forced marriage protection order.

Each order is designed to protect you according to your individual circumstances. For example, the court may order someone to hand over your passport or reveal where you are.  In an emergency, an order can be made to protect you immediately.

Disobeying a forced marriage protection order can result in a sentence of up to 5 years in prison.

Forced marriage abroad +

Contact the Forced Marriage Unit if you think you’re about to be taken abroad to get married against your will.  Contact the nearest British embassy if you’re already abroad.

If someone you know has been taken abroad 

Contact the FMU if you know someone who’s been taken abroad to be forced into marriage.  Give as many details as you can, for example:

  • where the person has gone
  • when they were due back
  • when you last heard from them

The FMU will contact the relevant embassy.

If they’re a British national, the embassy will try to contact the person and help them get back to the UK if that’s what they want.

Further Guidance and Support +

The handbook about being a survivor of forced marriage provides lots of useful information on: 

Refuge and Housing
Finance and Benefits
Ending your Marriage
Education and Work
Preventing and Protecting Future Victims

‘Right to choose’ campaign +

The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) developed this short film aimed at deterring potential forced marriage perpetrators. The film highlights the devastating impact forced marriage can have on victims and their families, and signposts victims and highlights where victims can turn to sources of further support.

Right to Choose: the consequences of forced marriage - YouTube

Useful resources and additional websites; +

What is a forced marriage? Leaflet

Marriage: it’s your choice (wallet card design) - this is a business-card sized design which contains contact details for the FMU. 

National Support Agencies

This section gives details of national support agencies including addresses, telephone numbers and an explanation of the service. There are also excellent regional organisations that can help victims of forced marriage and the contact details for many of these can be found on the FMU website at www.gov.uk/forced-marriage

Ann Craft Trust

Offers advice to professionals, parents, carers and family members on issues relating to the protection of vulnerable children and adults. You can contact them about general issues, but they are also happy to give advice about specific cases. If they are unable to answer your question, they will try to find you the most appropriate person to talk to about your concerns.

0115 951 5400



Offers safe temporary accommodation for South Asian women and children fleeing domestic violence, including forced marriage. Asha also shares advice on benefits, housing and legal issues for women and offers training programmes. Find out more at www.ashaforcedmarriage.org.uk/

Ashiana Network (London)

Offers emotional and practical help, as well as accommodation, for women and children who are escaping violence. They also provide two refuges specifically for South Asian, Turkish and Iranian women between the ages of 16-30 at risk of forced marriage.

0208 539 0427



This is an all Wales, voluntary organisation. It provides a specialist service to Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women and children made homeless through a threat of domestic abuse or fleeing domestic abuse in Wales. They have purpose built refuges across Wales. They also provide emotional and practical support for BME women living in social housing. The service is accessible 24 hrs a day.

0800 731 8147


Child Line

This service is for any child or young person with a problem

0800 1111


Citizens Advice Bureau

The Citizens Advice Bureau offers free, confidential and impartial information and advice on a wide range of subjects including consumer rights, debt, benefits, housing, employment,

immigration, family and personal matters. For a list of branches, see “Citizens Advice Bureau” in the telephone directory.

0844 111 444


Freedom Charity

Freedom Charity raises awareness and prevent child abuse to keep children safe. Their aim is to empower young people to feel they have the tools and confidence to support each other and have practical ways in which they can help their best friend around the issues of family relationships which can lead to early and forced marriage and dishonour based violence.

0845 6070133 (24 hour helpline)

Text “4freedom” 88802 (24 hour text line)

Free app available online to download


Gaia Centre (London)

The Gaia Centre provides confidential and independent support for anyone experiencing gender violence in the London borough of Lambeth. Also provides refuge spaces.

0207 733 8724

www.refuge.org.uk search for ‘Gaia Centre’

Travel Care

This service ensures that young people are able to leave the airport and arrive at their destination safely and without delay. Victims of forced marriage may require assistance when they arrive at an airport and Travel Care can be contacted for advice. The service is available from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 4pm Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays.

Gatwick - 01293 504283


Heathrow - 020 8745 7495


Manchester -

Manchester Airport Special Assistance | Manchester Airport Guide (manchester-airport-guide.co.uk)

Halo Project

The Halo Project is based in the North East of England; supporting victims of honour based violence and forced marriages by providing appropriate advice and support to victims. The programme of work with key partners will also provide required interventions and advice necessary for the protection and safety of victims.

01642 683045



Imkaan is the national Black, Minority Ethnic and Refugee (BMER) charity dedicated to addressing violence against women and girls


Include Me Too

Work with disabled parents and carers.


Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation

Provides advice and support to Middle Eastern women and girls facing honour based violence, domestic abuse, forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

0207 920 6460


JAN Trust

Raises awareness and prevent abuse and violence against women and girls including honour based violence, domestic abuse, forced marriage and female genital mutilation. Specialist service for Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic, Refugee (BAMER) and Muslim women.

0208 889 9433


Judith Trust

Focuses its work on the problems faced by people who have both a learning disability and mental ill-health.

020 7266 1073


Karma Nirvana

An organisation that provides emotional and practical support and advice for both male and female victims and survivors of forced marriage and/or honour based violence and abuse. It provides advice and support to potential victims, victims in crisis and professional agencies. It delivers this service through the Honour Network helpline, a confidential helpline.

0800 5999 247


Language line

This service can provide an interpreter on the telephone immediately in 100 different languages, 24 hours a day. This is not a free service.

020 7520 1430


National Domestic Violence Helpline

 (24 hour Free phone) run in partnership with Women’s Aid and Refuge, is a national service for women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf. Call the Helpline on 0808 2000 247, email: helpline@womensaid.org.uk or visit the website www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk/

Newham Asian Women’s Project (London)

Provides advice and support for Asian women and children experiencing domestic violence specifically safety planning and advice, emergency refuge space and translation services.

0208 472 0528


Palm Cove Society

Palm Cove Society provides supported accommodation for single homeless refugees, eligible destitute asylum seekers or migrants and unaccompanied asylum seeker children leaving care. They can also accommodate any of the aforementioned women fleeing domestic violence.

0113 230 2271


Rape Crisis

Rape Crisis centres provide crucial crisis and long term specialised counselling, support and independent advocacy for all women and girls of all ages who have experienced any form of sexual violence both recently and/or in the past; centres are community based and independent of government and the criminal justice system.

0808 802 9999



Respond provides a range of services to both victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse who have learning disabilities and those who have been affected by other trauma. They also offer support and training to families, carers and professionals.

0808 808 0700



Reunite is the leading charity specialising in international parental child abduction. It operates a 24- hour advice line providing advice, support and information to parents, family members and guardians who have had a child abducted or who fear abduction. It supports and informs parents who have abducted their children and assists with international contact issues. Their advice is impartial and confidential to either or both parties involved in an international parental child abduction case – it also provides information and support on the issue of forced marriage.

0116 255 6234 (advice line)


Rights of Women

Rights of Women is a women’s voluntary organisation committed to informing, educating and empowering women concerning their legal rights.


Roshni Asian Women’s Aid

Provides refuge for south Asian women and children experiencing domestic violence

0115 924 2864



A 24-hour helpline for any person in emotional distress

08457 909090


Scottish Women’s Aid

Lead organisation in Scotland working towards the prevention of domestic abuse

0131 226 6606


Sharan Project

Provides confidential advice, befriending service and practical support for South Asian Women towards leading successful independent living.

0844 504 3231