A forced marriage is where one or both people do not (or in cases of people withlearning disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and pressure or abuse is used.
Most cases involve girls and women under the age of 30. Around 85% of the cases reported to the government's Forced Marriage Unit involve women and 15% involve men
Victims with Disabilities
Children and young people with mental and physical disabilities are also vulnerable to forced marriage and cases have been reported. They may have communication difficulties and may have fewer opportunities to tell anyone what is happening to them.
Victims may suffer mental abuse, domestic violence, abduction, unlawful imprisonment, loss of property and assets, humiliation and even rape. This violence may lead to loss of self-confidence: feelings of shame, isolation and disempowerment: a loss of educational and career opportunities: removal from the victim's family or familiar environment and in many cases self-harm.
Reasons - Forced marriage cannot be justified on religious grounds: every major faith condemns it. A range of reasons are often used such as assisting British citizenship, strengthening family links, controlling unwanted behaviour, family honour etc. No matter what the justifications, forced marriage is a form of abuse and breaches internationally recognised human rights standards.
The Law - Forced marriage became a criminal offence in June 2014. Anyone forcing a person to get married can be arrested and imprisoned and sentenced up to 7 years. However victims can choose to protect themselves through civil law. They can ask (or someone can do it on their behalf) the court to make a Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO), preventing a person to be forced into marriage.
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Amina Muslim Women's Helpline (Scotland)
Phone: 0808 801 0301
Provides you with information about forced marriages and where to seek help.
Provides support, advice and create a forum for vulnerable women, particularly of South Asian origin, who have left home forcefully or voluntarily. This could be partially or wholly as a result of disownment; potential, perceived or real threat of domestic or honour-based violence; forced intercourse and or marriage; persecution over sexual preferences; or indeed other forms of cultural conflict.