Forced marriage | Suffolk Constabulary

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Forced marriage

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
  • emotional and psychological - for example, when someone is made to feel like they’re bringing shame on their family
  • financial - taking your wages or not giving you any money.

Forcing someone to marry is a criminal offence and anyone found guilty can face up to seven years in prison. Disobeying a Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO) can result in a sentence of up to five years in prison.

How can a Forced Marriage Protection Order help me?

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.

A Forced Marriage Protection Order can help if you are:

  • being forced into marriage
  • already in a forced marriage.

The aim of the order is to protect the person who has been, or is being, forced into marriage. The court can make an order in an emergency so that protection is in place straightaway.

Victims of forced marriage
If you believe that you or anyone you know is a victim of forced marriage, please:

  • Call Suffolk Police on 101 or 999 if it is an emergency.
  • Contact Social Services on 0344 800 8020 for welfare/safety concerns relating to a child, young person or vulnerable adult.  
  • Contact the Forced Marriage Unit on 0207 008 0151 or email [email protected]

The Forced Marriage Unit is a government unit which exists to help anyone being forced into marriage. It offers confidential support to men, women, boys and girls of all ages and never contacts the families of callers.

Please don’t be worried about talking to us, we will always listen to you and do everything we can to help.

Help and support

You can contact the Forced Marriage Unit on 0207 008 0151 or email [email protected]

The Forced Marriage Unit is a government unit which exists to help anyone being forced into marriage. It offers confidential support to men, women, boys and girls of all ages and never contacts the families of callers.

Forced Marriage Unit Resources:

As well as the Forced Marriage Unit, there are a number of organisations that can give you confidential advice and information.

National services

National Domestic Violence Helpline (24 Hour Freephone)
0808 2000 247

Childline
0800 1111

Samaritans
0845 790 9090

Shelter (for housing advice)
0808 800 4444

Men’s Advice Line
0808 801 0327

General advice

Southall Black Sisters
0208 571 9595

Newham Asian Women’s Project
0208 472 0528

Ashiana Project (London)
0208 539 0427

Ashiana (Sheffield)
0114 255 5740

Freedom Charity 
0845 607 0133 (24/7 helpline)

Karma Nirvana
0800 5999 247 (helpline)

Henna Foundation (Cardiff)
029 2049 6920

Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO)
0207 920 6460

Respond (learning disabilities)
0207 383 0700

Forward (for African women)
0208 960 4000

Imaan (LGBT Muslim community)
0203 393 5188

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