Women and men, adults and children may all find themselves victims of a forced marriage. Since 16 June 2014 forcing someone to marry has become a criminal offence in England and Wales under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. Alongside the Act, practice guidance and procedures have been issued which apply to all professionals who may come into contact with a child or a vulnerable adult. There are specific actions and responsibilities detailed within the guidance which all practitioners should read and follow.
- Send them away.
- Approach members of their family or the community – unless it involves a learning disability victim and you need to work alongside the family in assessing capacity.
- Share information with anyone without the victim’s express consent.
- Breach confidentiality – unless there is an imminent risk of serious harm or threat to life of the victim.
- Attempt to be a mediator or encourage mediation, reconciliation, arbitration or family counselling.
Multi-Agency Practice Guidelines: Handling cases of forced marriage 2014 – Step-by-step advice for frontline practitioners and volunteers including health professionals, educational staff, police, children’s social care and local authority housing.
Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Honour Based Violence (DASH) Assessment Tool/ SafeLives or DASH Risk Identification Checklist Assesment tool referred to in the Multi-Agency Guidance above.
The Forced Marriage Unit can offer assistance and support workers in these next steps.
For advice and assistance contact:
Forced Marriage Unit, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, King Charles Street, London, SW1A 2AH
Call: 020 7008 0151 (Mon-Fri: 09.00-17.00)
For all out of hours emergencies, please telephone 020 7008 1500 and ask to speak to the Global Response Centre
Forced Marriage: Freedom Charity – visit here.
Forced Marriage and Learning Disabilities: Multi-Agency Practice Guidelines
The majority of the cases of forced marriage reported to date in the UK involve South Asian families (Forced Marriage Unit). The prevalence of learning disabilities in South Asian communities is up to three times higher than in other communities, primarily for reasons of social and material deprivation as well as issues over access to healthcare (Learning Disabilities and Ethnicity , Department of Health, 2001, pg. 10).
These practice guidelines have been developed to assist professionals encountering cases of forced marriage of people with learning disabilities. The guidelines are available here.
But It’s Not Fair by Aneeta Prem is a fictional account of different perspectives on forced marriages that’s useful reading for school children and teachers
‘Right to Choose’ Campaign Videos
The Forced Marriage Unit commissioned to highlight the increased reports of forced marriage during the Summer holidays. These videos show how to spot the signs of forced marriage and focus on 3 young people all affected by these issues. Access the videos here.
Awareness of Forced Marriage – Free Online Course
Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 forced marriages of British citizens take place every year. Forced marriage is now illegal and the first prosecutions have taken place.
This free online course has been developed with the Forced Marriage Unit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Home Office. The course raises awareness, challenge perceptions and informs you of the correct actions to take.
Access the course here.
Film: Devastating Impact of Forced Marriage on Victims and Families
The Forced Marriage Unit has released a new film demonstrating the devastating impact of forced marriage on victims and their families. The film aims to raise public awareness of the issue and warns of the criminal consequences of involvement. Access the film here.
Honour Based Violence
One young person’s real story The End and the Beginning – My Story