Forced marriage

A forced marriage is one in which either or both people involved don’t consent to the marriage.

Victims can be forced into marriage in different ways – this may include physical, psychological, financial, sexual or emotional pressure.

Any marriage involving someone who lacks the capacity to give consent is a forced marriage.

Forced marriage is illegal in the UK. Read more about forced marriage.


Recognise a forced marriage

It can be hard to recognise when someone is being forced into marriage, especially when this involves psychological and emotional pressure rather than physical abuse.

For example, some victims of forced marriage are pressured by being made to feel responsible for bringing shame to their family.

Watch the video to find out more.

More videos to help you recognise forced marriage are on GOV.UK.

There are also promotional posters available in English, Arabic, Somali, Urdu and Welsh on GOV.UK.


Report a forced marriage

Everyone has the right to choose who they marry, when they marry or if they marry at all.

Contact the Forced Marriage Unit if:

  • you’re trying to stop a forced marriage
  • you need help leaving a marriage you’ve been forced into
  • you think you’re going to be taken abroad to be forced to marry

Contact the nearest British embassy if you have already been taken abroad.

Call 999 in an emergency or if you are being threatened.

Support available

As well as the Forced Marriage Unit, there are several national organisations that offer support to victims of forced marriage.

They provide services such as helplines, guidance, confidential safety advice as well as training for professionals.