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Forced into a marriage?

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What forced marriage is
You have the right to choose who you marry, when you marry or if you marry at all.
Forced marriage is when you face physical pressure to marry (eg threats, physical violence or sexual violence) or emotional and psychological pressure (eg if you’re made to feel like you’re bringing shame on your family).

Force marriage offences
Forced marriage is illegal in England and Wales. This includes:

  • taking someone overseas to force them to marry (whether or not the forced marriage takes place)
  • marrying someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they’re pressured to or not)

It is different to an arranged marriage in that if you agree to marry the other person, and are 16 years of age or more, then an arranged marriage is perfectly acceptable. However, if one of the people getting married does not want to do so, then this is not an arranged marriage but a forced marriage, and forced marriage is a type of abuse which is against the law.

You do not have to marry someone that you are being forced to marry.

Sometimes parents may use religion or culture as an excuse to force you to get married. You do not have to go through with it, but you need to seek advice and help. You could talk to a teacher or a youth worker, or another professional person that you know and trust.

If you don’t feel like you can talk to someone you know there are help lines, websites and other professionals that can help you. It can be really hard to tell someone but there are lots of people who can help you or someone you know who is being forced into marriage.

The Forced Marriage Unit can provide you with advice, support and assistance if you, or someone you know is being forced into marriage. You can contact the FMU by following this website link: .

Click on this link for information on a Honour Based Marriage helpline - Helpline

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Childline – visit their website at or you can ring them free of charge on 0800 1111.

You can call someone in Stoke-on-Trent:-

Contact telephone numbers

The number to call if you are worried about a child or young person and think they may be the victim of neglect or abuse:

If you think a child or young person is in immediate danger telephone 999

If a child or young person is at risk of significant harm contact the
     Safeguarding Referral Team Telephone 01782 235100

You can call someone in Stoke-on-Trent to help if you are worried about a child or young person and think they may be a victim of neglect or abuse
     Advice and Access Team Telephone 01782 232200

Emergency Duty Team - 01782 234234 (After 5pm)

If you are worried, or know someone who is being forced into an arranged marriage, then call one of the telephone numbers on this page. You will be able to speak to someone who can help.

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