Forced Marriage

Who is affected by forced marriage?

  • In 2016, victims’ ages ranged from young children to people post-retirement age.
  • SEX -1145 cases (80%) involving female victims and 283 involved male victims.
  • AGE - Where the age was known, 15% of cases involved victims below 16 years of age, and 26% involved under-18 year olds. The largest proportion of cases (35%) involved 18-25 year old victims.
  • SEXUAL ORIENTATION - 30 cases involved victims who identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).
  • DISABILITY - 140 cases involved victims who had a learning disability.
  • UK REGION - The North West had the 3rd largest amount of cases reported (180 cases . London had the greatest number of cases was London (307 cases).
  • COUNTRY - Since 2005, the FMU have dealt with cases from over 90 countries. In 2016 the FMU handled cases relating to 69 countries to which a victim was at risk of, or had already, been taken to in connection with a forced marriage

For more up to date information on forced marriage statistics click here.

Yousafzai quote


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). You have the right to choose who you marry, when you marry or if you marry at all. Forced marriages are not the same as arranged marriages. 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) It is also offence when marrying someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they’re pressured to or not) Forced marriage is often a hidden crime


“It is traumatic and can ruin people’s lives” Feeling that they no longer have control over their own lives many individuals end up depressed, self-harming or, in the worst cases, even attempting suicide. Living a life you don’t want can often seem worse than not living at all. Child marriage robs them of their childhoods, education, health and freedom, and subjects girls to rape and abuse for the rest of lives In a forced marriage there is no freedom of choice.

Forced Marriage in real life

Mrs Shah was born into a close-knit Asian community, and while her family lived in Britain they remained true to the conventions of remote Pakistani villages. Aged just 13, she was removed from school without explanation. Instead of an education, she was taught that a woman's place was in the home - and reminded that

the greater her sufferings on earth, the more lavish her reward would be in Paradise. Samina was still a frightened girl of 14 when she went through the formal wedding ceremony which marked her transition from her parents' house to that of her husband.

At 6am the day after, she was forced onto a plane to Pakistan, told only that she would return to Britain with her husband when she reached 16. The Daily Mail

FORCED MARRIAGE is it religion?

The former High Court judge, who chairs the National Commission on Forced Marriage, said that there was “a thin line” between legitimate emotional pressure and coercion.

“We have discovered that it is not exclusively a Muslim issue. It is an issue that affects other minority communities for instance Sikhs, Hindus, Orthodox Jews and indeed any group that values

the tight-knit community of which it is part and is very concerned that members of that community should not marry outside the community,”The Independent

In an emergency you should always dial 999 for help

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