Forced marriage can involve physical pressure (e.g. 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) to marry and is of course illegal in England and Wales. Offences are also committed if someone is taken overseas to force them to marry (whether or not the forced marriage takes place). It is also illegal to marry someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they’re pressured to or not).
Forced marriage is therefore an important area of child protection in which professionals have clear duties to safeguard those who may be vulnerable to such arrangements. Details of the steps that should be taken to prevent this form of abuse can be found in the LSCB’s Inter-Agency Guidance.
The following links provide access to further information that may also be of relevance:
- Stop forced marriage
- The Right to Choose: Multi-agency statutory guidance for dealing with forced marriage (2014)
- Multi-agency practice guidelines: Handling cases of Forced Marriage (2014)