Forced marriage

A forced marriage is where one or both people don’t (or in cases of people with learning disabilities, can’t) consent to the marriage, and pressure or abuse is used to force them into marriage.


Forced marriage is different to an arranged marriage, which is where both parties can choose if they want to go ahead with the marriage or not.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, always call 999.

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

Forced marriage is illegal in England, Scotland and Wales and can lead to a prison sentence. Illegal activity 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 or not)

    Find out more about forced marriage


Where can I get help for me or someone else?


Help is out there and you will be taken seriously.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, always call 999.

To talk to us about your own situation or report your concerns about someone else when it’s not an emergency, call us on 0800 40 50 40 or text 61016. You can also call your local police on 101, visit your nearest police station or speak to a police officer or police community support officer in person.

You can also contact the Forced Marriage Unit.


Please be ready to give as many details as you can, including:

  • Your name or the name of the person you are calling about
  • Where you or the person you are calling about live
  • Why you are concerned about your own or someone else’s welfare and safety
  • Where the you or the person you are calling about is being forced to go or has gone


If you don’t want to speak to the police, tell someone you trust. This could be a friend, your GP, other healthcare professional, social worker or support worker.

Contact Us

To report a crime or incident, call

0800 40 50 40

or text 61016

In an emergency call 999

More information and support

Against Forced Marriages

Freedom Charity

IKWRO (help for Middle Eastern and Afghan women and girls)
Karma Nirvana

National Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline(Scotland)

Forced Marriage Unit leaflets

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