Forced Marriage

Forced Marriage

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Last Updated: December 17th 2018

What is Forced Marriage?

Forced marriage is when you face physical pressure to marry (for example threats, physical violence or sexual violence) or emotional and psychological pressure (e.g. if you’re made to feel like you’re bringing shame on your family). It is very different from arranged marriage, where both parties give their full and free consent to the marriage.

The Forced Marriage Unit produces a helpful guide called ‘What is a forced marriage? Which contains answers to some frequently asked questions.

Forced marriage is illegal in the UK and the police and other agencies mentioned below can help you to find refuge is needed.

How to get Help

If you are under threat of a forced marriage or have already been forced into a marriage there is help available.  Here at Newman you can contact Student Support to see a Counsellor to get support with the difficult emotions you may be experiencing as a result of the fear of being forced into a marriage, or If you have already been forced into a marriage.

You can also contact Student Support to arrange to see a Welfare Adviser who can offer you advice and guidance on practical issues. The adviser will help you to understand what options are available to you, and then, if you decide to take action they will offer you support to help you achieve this.

Please be reassured that all student support services are confidential, this means that anything discussed at your appointments will not normally be passed on without your permission.

You can email student support to make an appointment at or by calling the helpdesk on 0121 476 1181 ext 2418. Always Call 999 in an emergency.

External Organisations

There are many organisations that offer support to people who are under threat of a forced marriage or those that want to leave a marriage that they have been forced into.

The Forced Marriage Unit at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is the main source of advice about what to do if you are at risk of being forced into marriage, or you are concerned that someone else is in that situation, or if you want to leave a forced marriage. All caseworkers in the FMU have experience in dealing with the cultural, social and emotional issues surrounding forced marriage. They provide a helpline and you can also email them.  They also offer advice to concerned friends, relatives or professionals.

Helpline: 020 7008 0151 – open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Out of hours: 020 7008 1500 (ask for Global Response Centre)


Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid were set up to stop domestic and sexual violence towards women, including forced marriage. They have a free Helpline and can give you advice on keeping yourself safe and put women who need to escape from a violent situation in touch with emergency refuge accommodation.

Helpline: 0808 800 0028 – open Monday to Friday, 9:15 am to 5:15 pm

Karma Nirvana is an organisation which provides a forced marriage helpline staffed by trained professionals, some of whom have escaped forced marriage and ‘honour’ based violence themselves.
Helpline: 0800 5999 247 – open 9am-9pm weekdays & 10am-4pm weekends

The Jan Trust runs a website called Against Forced Marriages. They have a free helpline and their website has a lot of useful information, including a frequently asked questions section.

Helpline: 0800 1412994 – open Monday to Thursdays from 10.30am to 4.30pm

What can you do to help someone?

If you know of someone who is in danger of being forced to marry there are steps you can take to help them safely:

  • You can let them know in private that you are there for them if they need to speak to someone about the situation.
  • You can contact the Forced Marriage Unit if they have been taken (or are about to be taken) abroad for the ceremony. They will need as many details about the situation as possible, for example:
    • Where they have been taken
    • When they were supposed to return
    • When you last heard from them
    • Any names, addresses or specific details about the ceremony
  • If they are still in the country and able to safely seek help, you can help them find and contact the relevant authorities to resolve the situation.

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