If you are worried that a marriage is being planned for you that you don’t want, it is important to get help. You can call the Sheffield Domestic Abuse Helpline or specialist services below for help. Take your worries seriously. Don’t pretend that it isn’t happening or hope it will go away.
What is forced marriage?
Forced marriage is when you are married against your will or where you are bullied or threatened into agreeing to marry. The government describes it as “a marriage in which one or both spouses do not (or, in the case of some adults with learning or physical disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and duress is involved. Duress can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure”.
Forced marriage is different from an arranged marriage. In an arranged marriage your family takes a lead in introducing your future husband or wife, but you choose whether or not you want to marry them.
If your family is forcing you into a marriage you don’t want, and are prepared to threaten or hurt you, then this is sometimes called ‘honour’-based violence.
Forced Marriage – New Offences
In 2014 new legislation became effective under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 which made forcing someone to marry a criminal offence.
A person who is found guilty of the offence is liable to a fine or imprisonment of 7 years.
It is also an offence to use deception in order to entice someone abroad so that they can be married against their will. The act also gives protection to those lacking mental capacity to make an informed decision about whether to marry or not.
The Offence of Breaching a Forced Marriage Protection Order
A person who without reasonable excuse does anything that they are prohibited from doing by a Forced Marriage Protection Order is now guilty of an offence.
A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable to a fine or 5 years in prison.
Who can help me?
There are several Sheffield and UK organisations, who can help you (details below). These organisations understand forced marriage and will not act in any way that would put you in more danger. They will never contact any member of your family or your community without your consent. But if they believe that you are going to be taken out of the country against your will, they may alert the authorities to stop this from happening.
They will understand that you love your family and don’t want to hurt them. But forcing you to marry someone not of your choice is a violation of your human rights and it is illegal in the UK (even if you marry abroad). They will explain different options and work with you to find ways of making you safe.
If you have been forced into marriage
If you have been married against your will, or if you know someone who has, it is still not too late to get help. The British Embassy will help you (if abroad) and all the services below can advise you of your options in the UK.
Jasvinder Sanghera from Karma Nirvana, author of Shame, talks about forced marriage on a Guardian YouTube video.
Support Organisations for Forced Marriage
The Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 808 2241 or email email@example.com
Can offer advice and information if you are at risk of Forced Marriage.
Apna Haq (Rotherham): 01709 519212 / 01709 519211
Karma Nirvana: 0800 599 99247
(National) Asian Men and Women’s Project
The National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline: Call – 0800 999 5428 email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Offers support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people experiencing domestic abuse.
Ashiana Sheffield: 0114 255 5740