Forced marriage and honour based abuse

Gavel Handcuffs And Books On LawForced marriage

A forced marriage occurs if one or both of the partners have not consented. This force usually comes from family members or other social groups, and the pressure may be physical (through threats, domestic violence or sexual abuse) or psychological pressure (made to feel like an outcast within the family, thought to bring shame to others).

A forced marriage might happen overseas under the premise of a holiday and signs that a forced marriage is likely to occur include absence from work or education, noticeable depression or anxiety. Of course, these could also be due to something else entirely, but it important to keep a note just in case.

A marriage is also forced if one or both of the partners do not have the mental capacity to consent. It is a criminal offence to force someone marry, including taking them overseas, and the maximum sentence is seven years in prison.

It is important to note that a forced marriage is not the same as an arranged marriage, which is consensual and legal.

If you believe a forced marriage is about to or has taken place or you yourself have been forced into marriage, you can call the UK government’s Forced Marriage Unit on 020 7008 0151 either in the UK or overseas.

Honour based abuse

Honour based abuse may take place when someone goes against perceived cultural and religious beliefs, such as:

  • wearing certain clothing
  • dating someone from a different culture or religion
  • wanting to get out of a forced marriage

Family members or acquaintances may undertake honour based abuse when they believe someone has not kept in line with traditional beliefs or culture. Whilst this abuse does not always include violence, it may include domestic abuse, threats of violence or being held against their will.

There is no specific offence for honour based abuse, but it is a violation of human rights and may be a form of domestic or sexual violence.

If you believe that any honour based abuse is occurring or you are a victim, you can contact the police on 999.

Content on Access Solicitor is not legal advice, and is made available subject to our terms of use. If you need more details on your rights or legal advice try using the Access Solicitor search to find the best lawyer for you.

Find a local lawyer

Request a Callback X

Hi ,

Thanks for contacting Access Solicitor. We'll get back to your enquiry as soon as possible, and during normal business hours this should be within the next 30 minutes. We look forward to helping you find the legal advice you need.

Access Solicitor Customer Care