What is a forced marriage? Who is affected by forced marriage? What does a victim of forced marriage look like? Forced marriage and arranged marriage Forced marriage and domestic violence Protection under the law in England and Wales Forced Marriage Protection Orders What are wardship proceedings? Social services applications for forced marriage protection orders What if the FMPO is ignored or not followed by my perpetrators?
The criminal offence of forced marriage How can I end my marriage? Do I have to get divorced? Do I have a right to financial support from my husband?
What if my husband or other people threaten to take my children away? Support Services Emergency contacts Other useful contacts. You have the right to choose who you marry, when you marry, or if you marry at all. A marriage is a forced marriage if you have not been able to make any of those choices i.
If you are at risk of, or have experienced, forced marriage, you are not alone. If you are or think you might be a victim or survivor of forced marriage, this guide will set out what the law can do to help you. If you are uncertain whether you are being forced or have been forced into a marriage, you can find more information at www.
In an emergency situation you can call the police on For other support and protection that might be available see the list of emergency contacts at the end of this guide. Financial abuse taking your wages or not giving you any money can also be a factor. A forced marriage is a marriage, which takes place against your will; or a marriage that you agreed to, but you did not really have a choice.
The definition of force used by the Government includes physical, psychological, sexual, financial and emotional pressure as well as emotional and psychological abuse or harassment. Forced marriage involves situations where you feel pressured to the point where you agree, but only because you feel you did not have the choice to say no, and you would not have consented had the pressure not been placed on you. The pressure put on you to marry against your will can take place in many ways. It can be physical abuse, which includes threats of violence, actual physical violence and sexual violence.
It can also be emotional and psychological, for example, being made to feel as if you are letting the family down, being told that you are a bad daughter, being told that you have gone against your cultural or religious expectations, or being made to feel that you are bringing shame on the family.
Emotional and psychological abuse can also include close family members making threats of self-harm or suicide, or saying that they have become ill as a result of your refusal to agree to their wishes. Abuse can also be financial and this can include taking your wages, or not giving you any or enough money.
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In some cases, you may be held against your will, moved from one place to another, or not allowed to leave your home and therefore may be unable to choose whether you want to enter into a marriage. In this guide we will refer to the person or persons forcing you into the marriage as the perpetrator s. The marriage can be a religious or civil marriage, and can take place in the UK or abroad see A guide to marriage.
Consent means you have made a free choice to get married and it is your own decision.
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You must have the freedom to choose whether or not to enter the marriage. If threats of violence are made against you or another person, or you have been detained against your will, or you believe entering the marriage is required because that is what your family expects, then you may not be able to refuse the marriage and therefore you do not have the freedom to make a choice.
Many women do not identify what they are going through as forced marriage. If you are not sure if you are or have been forced into a marriage there are organisations that can help you.
Forced marriage is frequently portrayed as an issue which only affects South Asian women and girls, however, this is not correct. There are no religions which support or advocate the practice of forced marriage. Forced marriage can happen to anyone from any background, regardless of social class, financial status and sexuality; which include people who identify as lesbian, bi-sexual, gay and transgender, or are perceived as such. In a UK context, the needs and experiences of some affected groups are often less visible, and only specific groups are highlighted.
It is important to be aware that forced marriage disproportionately impacts women and girls, and is therefore recognised as a form of violence against women and girls. When a forced marriage occurs a of human rights are breached. Forced marriage is different to arranged marriage where families are involved in selecting a partner but it is up to the individuals to decide whether or not to enter the marriage. Some structures that are used in an arranged marriage may also be used in a forced marriage and this can often become confusing in distinguishing between them.
The key distinction is that a forced marriage involves a lack of consent by one or both parties and where coercion or pressure may be a factor. Arranged marriage involving adults who are freely consenting is legal and does not breach the law or breach legal rights.
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However, it is important to remember that consenting because of fear or pressure is not true consent. See our Guide to Marriage.
If you are unsure whether you have or are being forced into a marriage, you can find more information here or contact one of the organisations listed at the end of this guide. Many women are also subjected to different forms of abuse within the context of their marriage. This can range from emotional, psychological and financial abuse to sexual and physical violence. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse: psychological; physical; sexual; financial and emotional.
Coercive behaviour is: an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim. If you are experiencing domestic abuse see A guide to domestic violence injunctions. Protection under the law in England and Wales. Forced marriage can involve a range of criminal offences and there is now a specific criminal offence of forced marriage.
You can also get legal protection from forced marriage in the civil courts. A forced Marriage Protection Order FMPO is a type of injunction which can forbid your perpetrator from doing certain things such as being physically violent, contacting you directly or indirectly by making someone else contact youtaking you out of the country, or making marriage arrangements. The injunction can also require the person named in the order to do certain things, for example, handover passports to the court or ensure a young person attends school.
You can apply for a FMPO if you have been forced into a marriage or you believe you are being forced into a marriage. The marriage does not have to have occurred for you to gain protection. This could mean that the order is made against one person or many people who are involved in the forced marriage. An order can be made against any persons in the UK or outside, who is, or has been, involved in the forced marriage in any way.
This could be your mother, father or other close family member; or someone who you do not know, but is involved in the forced marriage. For example, an imam or a priest who is going to conduct the ceremony or wider family members who are acting in a harassing way, could be subject to a FMPO.
The Respondent must not take the Applicant out of the Birmingham area.
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The Respondent must not harass, pester or molest the Applicant, directly or indirectly. The Respondent must halt any arrangements for the wedding of the Applicant.
There is no court fee for applying for a FMPO. You or your solicitor will need to prepare a witness statement setting out details of your situation, any violence or threats that have been used against you, the arrangements for your marriage or details of the marriage if it has taken place. You should also set out what you want the order to do and the persons you want the order to be made against.
Yes, but they might not know until you get the order. You or your solicitor can start the application for a FMPO without telling your perpetrators. If the without notice FMPO is made this means that you will have protection before your perpetrator s know you have made the application. The application must be sent to them by a process server a person whose job is to give documents to people or the court bailiffs.
The family court will then set a hearing at which your perpetrators will have the opportunity to defend the order or they can agree to let the order continue. This might mean that you have to give evidence at court with your perpetrators there. You will usually have to attend court, in certain situations you can give evidence from another location, so that you do not have to face your perpetrators at court. If you do not wish to or do not feel you can attend court, you should ask your solicitor to request that you can give evidence from a different location. If this is not possible, you or your solicitor should ask for special facilities to be put in place to protect you at court and giving evidence.
If you or your solicitor call the court in advance and ask for special measuresthese are protections put in place such as screens for you to provide your evidence behind so that you do not have to face your perpetrators and a safe exit, for example, by retainingand or providing evidence from another. I am concerned that someone close to me is being forced into a marriage, can I apply for a forced marriage protection order to protect this person?
A friend, relative or someone else can make an application for an FMPO. If the court grants permission then the application can be made for a FMPO to protect the victim. If you are not able to make the application yourself, for example, you cannot leave the house or access the courts, or are in another country, or you are too frightened, then someone else can make the application.