Difference between forced marriage and arranged marriage
There is a clear distinction between a forced
marriage and an arranged marriage, in arranged marriages, the
families of both spouses take a leading role in arranging the
marriage but the choice whether or not to accept the arrangement
remains with the prospective spouses.
In forced marriage, one or both spouses do not
(or, in the case of some vulnerable adults, cannot) consent to the
marriage and duress is involved. Duress can include physical,
psychological, financial, sexual, financial and emotional
All practitioners working with victims of
forced marriage and honour-based violence need to be aware of the
“one chance” rule. That is, they may only have one chance to speak
to a potential victim and thus they may only have one chance to
save a life.
This means that all practitioners working
within statutory agencies need to be aware of their
responsibilities and obligations when they come across forced
If the victim is allowed to walk out of the
door without support, that one chance might be lost.
Honour based violence
The term “honour crime” or “honour-based
violence” embraces a variety of crimes of violence (mainly but not
exclusively against women), including assault, imprisonment and
murder where their family or their community is punishing the
They are being punished for actually, or
allegedly, undermining what the family or community believes to be
the correct code of behaviour. In transgressing this correct code
of behaviour, the person shows that they have not been properly
controlled to conform by their family and this is to the “shame” or
“dishonour” of the family.
Keeping a victim of forced marriage safe
following a disclosure of Forced marriage
Whatever someone’s circumstances, the victim
has rights that should always be respected such as personal safety
and accurate information about their rights and choices.
Practitioners should listen to the victim and
respect their wishes.
Disclosures of forced marriage should not be
dismissed as merely a domestic issue – for many people, seeking
help from an agency is a last resort and therefore all disclosures
of forced marriage should be taken seriously.
Involving families in cases of forced marriage
may increase the risk of serious harm to a person.
Useful contact details
Forced Marriage Unit
The United Kingdom Government has set up the
Forced Marriage Unit to provide practical support, information and
advice to anyone who has been through or is at risk of a forced
marriage. The Forced Marriage Unit is a joint initiative between
the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Home Office.
Telephone 0207 008
Forced marriage multi-agency practice
The FMU has published a revised set of
multi-agency practice guidelines for frontline professionals (such
as teachers, police officers, social and health care professionals,
housing officers) to help them to work more closely together and to
better identify and protect children and adults at risk of forced
marriage. The revised guidelines replace the existing individual
guidelines, which were tailored for specific professionals and
now brings these together into one document.
Multi-agency practice guidelines: Handling Cases of Forced
Marriage [PDF, 503KB, 105 pages]
Karma Nirvana's was established in 1993
and has expanded and developed from a local to regional project to
now being a national to international project in relation to forced
marriage and honour based violence. Karma Nirvana not only supports
women, but has expanded to also support men and couples.
Contact: 01332 347315
The Honour Network is a project designed to
support victims and survivors of forced marriage and honour based
0800 5999 247
A help line established by Cleveland Police
which now includes Northumbria Police and Durham Constabulary that
is staffed by specially trained staff where advice and support can
be obtained in relation to forced marriage and honour based
0800 5999 365