If you are feeling pressurised into marrying someone, or you feel that you have no say in the decision, you may be being forced into a marriage. Whether the marriage is taking place abroad or here in the UK, it is important to understand that you have the right to say no, and that support is available.
A forced marriage is when you feel that you can not say ‘no’ to the marriage. Both men and women, of different ages, communities and backgrounds can be victims of a forced marriage. It is important to remember that forced marriage is not a ‘cultural or religious’ issue, it can be experienced by people from different cultural groups, and is condemned by every major religion.
It is important not to confuse ‘forced’ marriage with ‘arranged’ marriage. An arranged marriage is when the families are involved in helping to choose the marriage partner, but it is the choice of both the bride and groom whether they want to get married or not. A forced marriage is when they have no choice or feel that they have no choice.
Forcing someone to marry another person is now a criminal offence under the Anti Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
If you suspect that a child may be at risk of forced marriage, either in this country or abroad, or that it has been carried out then it is important that you report these concerns to children social care here or call children’s helpdesk on 01452 426565 and/or the police central referral unit here
A vast range of professionals including police officers, teachers and social workers now have a greater awareness of this abuse in Gloucestershire. If a child is at immediate risk ring the Police on 999.
If you have experienced forced marriage or honour based violence it is not your fault and there are local and national services that can provide support.
For professionals who would like to access more information and training visit the GSCB website www.gscb.org.uk