A forced marriage is a marriage which takes place against your will; without your consent; or a marriage that you agreed to, but you did not really have a choice.
There are several ways an individual may be forced to marry including:
- threats or use of physical violence; and/or
- psychological, sexual or financial abuse.
A forced marriage victim may also be subjected to emotional blackmail including threats of bringing dishonour on their family. If you feel pressurised to the point where you agreed to the marriage and could not refuse, this would constitute a forced marriage.
An application can be made to the Court for a Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO) which if made can impose restrictions on the people who would try to force you to marry. The FMPO can impose the following:
- Forbidding a person from forcing a person into a marriage;
- Forbidding a person from taking a person abroad;
- Requiring a person to surrender travel documents;
- Forbidding intimidation, harassment, violence or threats of violence against the person being forced into a marriage; and
- Forbidding a person from contacting or attempting to contact the person being forced into marriage.
A breach of a FMPO is now a criminal offence, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Since June 2014, it is also a crime to force someone to marry. If a parent is found guilty of forcing their child to marry they may be imprisoned for up to 7 years.
If you are worried that your parents or another relative may force you to marry, please contact us immediately. If this is during out of office hours you can speak to a solicitor on our emergency telephone number: 07957 322 868. We treat people in this position as a priority and make any application to court as a matter of urgency. You will be treated with respect and anything you discuss with us will be strictly confidential.