Information for forced marriage victims

Our Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) is dedicated to preventing British nationals being forced into marriage overseas. If you are worried that you might be forced into a marriage or are worried about someone else who may you should contact them on:

020 7008 0151 (or 0044 20 7008 0151 if you are overseas)

We’ll need to talk to you on the phone to work out a plan of action. Our caseworkers deal with around 400 cases a year and are fully trained to deal with the emotional, cultural and social issues surrounding forced marriage.

Anything you tell us will be treated with complete confidentiality.

What is a forced marriage?

In a forced marriage you are coerced into marrying someone against your will. You may be physically threatened or emotionally blackmailed to do so. It is an abuse of human rights and cannot be justified on any religious or cultural basis.

It’s not the same as an arranged marriage where you have a choice as to whether to accept the arrangement or not. The tradition of arranged marriages has operated successfully within many communities and countries for a very long time.

For more information see our leaflet ‘What is a forced marriage?’ (PDF)

I’m frightened I might be forced into marriage during a family visit overseas, what should I do?

Call us on 020 7008 0151 before you go.

And you should think about whether you really want to go. Once you’re there you may:

  • be isolated
  • face emotional pressure
  • be watched all the time
  • have no money
  • not have your passport or ticket
  • be a long way from a telephone

If you still decide to go you should make sure you leave the following with a trusted friend:

  • full address and telephone number of where you are going to stay abroad
  • your passport details
  • all your flight details (there and back)

Find out where the nearest embassy is - you'll find a link to our 'Find an embassy' page to the right - and keep the phone number with you at all times.

If you can, take some money with you.

My sister/ cousin /friend has not returned from a visit overseas and I’m worried she might have been forced into marriage, what should I do?

Contact us on 020 7008 0151. It will help us if you can give us as many details as you can such as:

  • where the person has gone
  • when they were due back
  • when you last heard from them
  • we’ll contact the relevant embassy on your behalf and they will then try to make contact with the person.

I was forced into a marriage overseas, can you refuse my spouse a visa to come here?

We may be able to but you must be willing to state publicly that you do not want your spouse to join you in the UK. Call us on 020 7008 0151 and we will advise you on what you can do.

If you have been forced into marriage our Survivor’s Handbook will offer you some advice and help you plan for the future.

Regional Services which can offer help and advice:

Ashiana Project (London): 020 8539 0427

Ashiana (Sheffield): 0114 255 5740

Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation (IKWRO): 0207 490 0303 or 07862 733511

Hemat Gryffe Women's Aid (Glasgow): 0141 353 0859

Newham Asian Women's Project (London): 0208 472 0528

Roshni (Nottingham Asian Women's Aid): 0115 948 3450, 24 hour

Karma Nirvana Asian Men and Women's Project (Derby):01332 604098

also runs the Honour Network helpline: 0800 5999 247

Domestic Violence Helpline (Greater Manchester): 0161 636 7525

The Doli Project (Birmingham): 0845 658 1057

Our work

Read a case study about the work of the Forced Marriage Unit

Escaping forced marriage

See Also

Information for professionals

Useful Links

Home Office - information on Domestic Violence

Related Documents

Find an Embassy

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الموقع الإلكتروني لوزارة الخارجية بالعربية

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اردوویب سائٹ

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