This section gives you information and contact details regarding forced marriage and honour-based violence.
Difference between forced marriage & arranged marriage
There is a clear distinction between a forced and an arranged marriage.
In arranged marriages, the family of both spouses take leading roles in arrangements, but the choice of whether to accept or not, 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. This can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure.
All practitioners working with victims of forced marriage need to be aware of the ‘once chance’ rule. That is, they may only have one chance to speak to a potential victim, and thus only one chance to save a life.
This means practitioners need to be aware of their responsibilities and obligations when they come across forced marriage cases. If a victim is allowed to leave without support, their chance may be lost.
Regardless of circumstances, victims have rights that should always be respected, such as safety and accurate information about their rights and choices. Practitioners should listen to and respect the wishes of the victim.
Disclosures of forced marriage should not be dismissed as a domestic issue. For many, seeking help is a last resort and therefore all disclosures should be taken seriously. Involving families in the case of forced marriages may increase the risk of serious harm to a victim.
The term ‘honour crime’ or ‘honour-based violence’ embraces a variety of crimes – mainly, but not exclusively against women. This includes assault, imprisonment and murder where their family or community are punishing the victim.
They are being punished for undermining what the family/community believes to be the correct code of behaviour. In transgressing this, the victim shows they have not been properly controlled to conform and this is to be the ‘shame’ or ‘dishonour’ of the family.
Useful contact details
Forced Marriage Unit
Forced marriage multi-agency practice guidelines
The government has set up the Forced Marriage Unit to provide practical support, information and advice. This is a joint initiative between the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Home Office.
The unit has published a revised set of practice guidelines to help frontline professionals work more closely together and to better identify/protect children and adults at risk.
Established in 1993, Karma Nirvana has developed from a local project to an international project in relation to forced marriage and honour-based violence. Karma Nirvana supports women, men and couples.
A project designed to support victims and survivors of forced marriage and honour-based violence.
A helpline, established by Cleveland police, now includes Northumbria Police and Durham Constabulary and consists of specially trained staff. Advice/support can be obtained in relation to forced marriage and honour-based violence.