05 June, 2023
A forced marriage is a marriage that takes place without the full and free consent of either one of both parties. Force is not restricted to direct threats of violence and can include pressure and intimidation by threats, other psychological means and even financial abuse.
Any person may be forced into a marriage, including people of all ages, genders, ethnicities and religions.
Over the past 12 months in the UK, there were more than 400 victims forced into marriage (2022).
In the UK, forced marriage is classed as domestic abuse and child abuse.
Under the Family Law Act 1996, the court can make a forced marriage order (also referred to as a FMPO) this can be used to protect the person who has been, or is being, forced into marriage.
The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, under Section 121, made it a criminal offence in England, Wales and Scotland to force someone to marry.
The Marriage and Civil Partnership Act 2022, which gained Royal Assent in April last year, made it a criminal offence to cause a child to marry, with a sentence of up to seven years in prison.
This list of reasons is not exhaustive and includes:
There may well be other reasons why someone is forced into a marriage. People who are being forced into marriage face many problems. Privately, they may feel frightened, lonely and withdrawn.
If you recognise these behaviours and the aforementioned motives a good point of call is to contact organisations such as the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) and Karma Nirvana, a specialist charity. The Forced Marriage Unit operates a public helpline to provide advice and support.
Anyone who risks being forced to marry can apply for a Forced Marriage Protection Order, this is a legal document that will stop the individual from being taken out of the country. It can also help to bring the individual back to the UK if they have been taken out of the country. These restrictions can be in place indefinitely or expire when your court sees it necessary and safe to do so.
We can assist in getting Forced Marriage Protection Orders to protect those who are in danger of being forced to marry against their will. To find out more about our specialist forced marriage solicitors click here or contact a member of the team on the details below.
For more information contact Lucy Whittaker in our Family/Divorce department via email or phone on 01772 204 204. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.
Learn more about our Family/Divorce department here