What is a forced marriage?

A forced marriage is a marriage that takes place without the full and free consent of both parties.

In a forced marriage, you are coerced into marrying someone against your will. You may be physically threatened or emotionally blackmailed to do so, or you may be a victim of psychological abuse. Forced marriage cannot be justified on any religious or cultural basis.

Forced marriages are not the same as arranged marriages, where you can choose whether to accept the arrangement or not. In an arranged marriage, families take the lead in selecting a marriage partner but the couple has the free will and choice to accept or decline the arrangement. The tradition of arranged marriages has operated successfully within many communities and countries for a very long time.

If you think someone is being subject to a forced marriage please contact Greater Manchester Police on 101, or 999 if it is an emergency.

In 2016 the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) gave advice or support related to possible forced marriage in 1428 cases.  These figures include contact that has been made to the FMU through the public helpline or by email in relation to new cases.

Of the cases that FMU provided support to:

  • 371 cases involved victims below 18 years of age; and
  • 497 cases involved victims aged 18 - 25 years.

In 2016 the majority of cases, 1145 (80%) involved women victims, while 283 cases (20%) involved male victims.

Where the age was known, 15% of cases involved victims below 16 years of age and 26% involved under 18 year olds.  The largest proportion of cases (35%) involved 18 - 25 year old victims.

In 2016 30 cases (2%) involved victims who identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).  140 cases (10%) involved victims who had a learning disability.

Greater Manchester currently has a Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence Worker:

Ruhena Tarafder
Independent Specialist Honour Based Violence & Development Officer
Community Safety Services
Level 9, Civic Centre
West Street

Tel: 07702369866
Email: ruhena.tarfder@oldham.gov.uk