A marriage is a forced marriage if it takes place without the full consent of one or both parties.

A forced marriage is not to be confused with an arranged marriage. Forced marriage is an abuse of a person’s human rights and cannot be justified for cultural or religious reasons.

Force marriage can mean:

  • threats, actual physical violence and/or sexual violence
  • emotional and psychological force (for example when someone is made to feel like they are bringing shame on their family)
  • financial abuse (for example demanding someone should account for all the money they spend)

Force marriages includes situations in which someone is not able to understand what they are consenting to. This can be the case where a person has learning or physical disabilities that make communication difficult.

If you are concerned that you or someone you know is being forced into marriage or is at risk of being forced into marriage, speak to a family solicitor as soon as possible. There are things that can be done and legal processes in place to protect people from marrying against their will.  A Forced Marriage Protection Order issued by the Court is one way of safeguarding a person who is about to be, or has been forced into marriage.

At TV Edwards, we have specialist knowledge of the law in this area. Our Family Law team trains the police, the voluntary sector and local community groups in the issues around forced marriage, and our expert solicitors help protect clients who are victims. Sometimes this is in collaboration with other agencies,  to make sure that the issues become properly and conclusively resolved.

We can also provide advice if you have been accused of forcing someone into marriage, including where you have been served with a Forced Marriage Protection Order.

Our advice is clear and independent, and based on many years’ experience of children, families and the law. If you are dealing with a difficult issue to do with marriage, divorce, children, or any other family situation and need specialist family solicitors in London to advise you, we are here to help.

In the UK the Forced Marriage Unit provides information and practical advice to anyone affected by forced marriage. The Unit abroad works with embassy staff to assist victims who may have been held against their will.  Their website contains useful information.

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