Forced marriage

Contact the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) if you are trying to stop a forced marriage or you need help leaving a marriage you have been forced into. 

Forced Marriage Unit 

  • Forced Marriage Unit email (external link) 

  • Telephone: 020 7008 0151 

  • From overseas: +44 (0)20 7008 0151 

  • Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm 

  • Out of hours: 020 7008 1500 (ask for the Global Response Centre) 

  • Call 999 in an emergency. 

A trained professional will give you free advice on what to do next. 

They can also help you: 

  • find a safe place to stay 

  • stop a UK visa if you have been forced to sponsor someone 

What is forced marriage? 

You have the right to choose who you marry, when you marry or if you marry at all. 

Forced marriage is when you face physical pressure to marry (for example, threats, physical violence or sexual violence) or emotional and psychological pressure (for example if you are made to feel like you are bringing shame on your family). 

Forced marriage offences 

Forced marriage is illegal in England and Wales. This includes: 

  • taking someone overseas to force them to marry (whether or not the forced marriage takes place) 

  • marrying someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they are pressured to or not) 

Forcing someone to marry can result in a sentence of up to seven years in prison. 

Forced marriage protection orders 

You can ask the court for a forced marriage protection order (external link)

Each order is unique, and is designed to protect you according to your individual circumstances. For example, the court may order someone to hand over your passport or reveal where you are. 

In an emergency, an order can be made to protect you immediately. 

Disobeying a forced marriage protection order can result in a sentence of up to five years in prison. 

Forced marriage abroad 

Contact the Forced Marriage Unit if you think you are about to be taken abroad to get married against your will. 

Contact the nearest British embassy (external link)if you are already abroad. 

If someone you know is at risk 

Contact the Forced Marriage Unit if you know someone who has been taken abroad to be forced into marriage. 

Give as many details as you can, for example: 

  • where the person has gone 

  • when they were due back 

  • when you last heard from them 

The Forced Marriage Unit will contact the relevant embassy. 

If they are a British national, the embassy will try to contact the person and help them get back to the UK if that is what they want. 

Support for victims 

Read the handbook about being a survivor of forced marriage (external link). It has details of organisations that can give you help and advice.