What is forced marriage?

A forced marriage is where one or both people do not or cannot consent to the marriage, and pressure or abuse is used to force them into marriage.


What is forced marriage?

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Forced marriage is illegal in the UK. It is a form of domestic abuse and a serious abuse of human rights.

For a marriage to be consensual, it must be entered into freely by both people getting married. You should feel you have a choice. Legally, people with certain learning disabilities or severe mental health conditions are not able to consent to marriage, even if they feel the marriage is what they want.

If you are in immediate danger call the police on 999. If you or someone you know is being forced into marriage either in the UK or abroad, you can contact the Forced Marriage Unit.

Published 31 January 2013
Last updated 23 November 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added HTML accessible versions of guidance in translated languages.

  2. Added HTML accessible version. Added translated documents.

  3. Added a print ready version of "What is a forced marriage?".

  4. Updated with new What is a forced marriage? leaflet

  5. First published.