Skip over navigation|

Home / Children and Young People / Forced into a marriage?


Forced into a marriage?

girl standing by graffitti wall

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

Emergency Duty Team - 01782 234234 (After 5pm)

What forced marriage is 

Forced marriage is when you face physical pressure to marry e.g. you are being threatened with physical or sexual violence or emotional and pressure and are being made to feel like you’re bringing shame on your family if you don’t do what your family wants you to do.

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: 

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 hasn’t got the ability to consent to the marriage (possibly due to mental health reasons)

Staffordshire Police have further information regarding Forced Marriage on their website.

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

Forced marriage 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 get some advice and help as soon as you think your parents are thinking about forcing you to marry someone. You could talk to a teacher 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.  

Safeguarding Children logo