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Forced Marriage and 'Honour' Based Violence

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If someone is attempting to coerce you into a marriage against your will, or you are experiencing any form of abuse or violence because your family or community believe your behaviour has brought ‘dishonour’, don’t suffer in silence.

Remember that you are not to blame and that those abusing you or coercing you into marriage are committing a crime.

A forced marriage is a marriage in which one or both partners do not (or, in the case of some adults with learning or physical disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and subsequently are forced into it. The use of force could include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure.

‘Honour’ Based Violence includes a variety of violent crimes (mainly but not exclusively against women), including assault, imprisonment or confinement, interference with choice in marriage, and murder. As with domestic violence, ‘honour’ based violence can also include financial, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse, not only physical violence. ‘Honour’ related crimes are committed where a family or community believe that an individual has in some way transgressed a code of behaviour and thereby brought ‘dishonour’ or ‘shame’.

There are some signs you can look out for if you are concerned that a friend or someone you know may be at risk of a forced marriage:

  • Extended absence from school/college, truancy, drop in academic performance, low motivation, excessive parental restriction and control of movements, and history of siblings leaving education early to marry

  • Poor attendance in the workplace, poor performance, parental control of income and limited career choices

  • Evidence of self-harm, treatment for depression, attempted suicide, social isolation, eating disorders or substance abuse

  • Evidence of family disputes/conflict, domestic violence/abuse or running away from home

Getting Help

If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be at risk of forced marriage you can call the Forced Marriage Unit on 020 7008 0151. If you are going abroad with your family and have a fear that you may be coerced into a marriage while you are away then give the Forced Marriage Unit as much information as you can about your trip. This will help them to track where you are if you don’t return to the UK.  

Forced marriage and 'honour' based violence are forms of child abuse. If you are concerned that a child is at risk of forced marriage or 'honour' based violence contact Islington’s Referral and Advice Team, 020 7527 7400, csctreferrals@islington.gov.uk.

You can also call the Honour Network Helpline operated by Karma Nirvana on 0800 5999 247, or call the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation on 0207 920 6460 (9.30 - 5.30) or on one of their 24hour numbers 07846 310157(Farsi / Dari / Turkish) or 07846 275246 (Kurdish/Arabic) to speak in confidence to someone if you are facing forced marriage, or any ‘honour’ related violence or abuse.

If you believe that you or someone else are in immediate danger always dial 999.

There are a number of services in Islington and London that can help and support you if you are a victim of Forced Marriage or 'Honour' Based Violence. For more information on these search our directory of domestic and sexual violence services.

Forced Marriage Protection Orders

A Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO) is a legal document, issued by a judge, which aims to change the behaviour of anyone who is trying to force you into marriage. It contains legally binding conditions on their behaviour, and if they disobey the order they can be sent to prison for up to two years. Each FMPO is specific to the situation so they will create conditions specially designed to protect you in your circumstances. Either the victim themselves, a friend, or the local authority can ask the Court for a Forced Marriage Protection Order. Below you can download the detailed guidance on FMPOs and how they operate.

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