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Forced Marriage

A forced marriage is a marriage in which one or both spouses do not consent to the marriage but are coerced into it. Duress can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure. In cases of vulnerable adults who lack the capacity to consent to marriage, coercion is not required for a marriage to be forced.

Forcing someone to marry is a criminal offence. It is child abuse, domestic abuse and a form of violence against women and men; it should form part of existing child and adult protection structures, policies and procedures.

Multi-agency practice guidelines: Handling cases of Forced Marriage, HM Government 2014

The Solihull LSCB (link opens in new tab or page) webpages provide comprehensive guidance and advice for frontline professionals and their managers, individual’s in Solihull’s local communities and community groups such as faith and leisure groups on forced marriage. Forced marriage involves complex and sensitive issues; where information is available to any agency which gives rise to concerns about a forced marriage involving a child or young person under 18, which indicates that s/he may be at risk of Significant Harm now or in the foreseeable future, a referral should be made to Children’s Social Work Services in accordance with the Referrals Procedure.

The Forced Marriage Unit will provide and advice and support to frontline professionals handling cases of forced marriage at any stage in a case. The FMU can help those who have already been forced into marriage to explore their options, including assisting those who are being forced to sponsor a spouse’s visa for settlement in the UK.

Call: 020 7008 0151 (Mon-Fri: 09.00-17.00) For all out of hours emergencies, please telephone 020 7008 1500 and ask to speak to the Global Response Centre.

Email: fmu@fco.gov.uk Web: www.gov.uk/forced-marriage

Amnesty International has a useful list of resources where schools can access teaching materials and lesson plans.

Freedom Charity  has produced a series of free FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) and forced marriage lesson plans for pupils aged 10 to 18. The lesson plans are available for free, to request them please contact Freedom Charity so they can be emailed to you.

Plan UK is a global charity which supports action on promoting children’s rights.

Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid will provide support and advice for those at risk of forced marriage. They also provide training sessions.

Forced Marriage Helpline: The Honour Network

Tel 0800 5999 247 Mon – Fri 9.30am – 5pm

The dedicated helpline is run by the charity Karma Nirvana, which helps survivors of honour crimes and forced marriages. The phone line is staffed by survivors who understand what the victims are going through.

Karma Nirvana’s staff and survivors regularly speak in schools, 6th form colleges and universities delivering assemblies, lectures and workshops across the UK.  They also offer teacher training on how to recognise honour-based abuse and best practice in handling it. You will also find information about their ‘Spoon Project’.