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A forced marriage is where one (or both) of the spouses does not want to get married and is forced or coerced into it. In cases where someone has disabilities, they may not have the capacity to consent to marry. Coercion can include physical, psychological, emotional, sexual and financial pressures and abuse.
Forced marriage is not condoned by any of the major religions (consent is a prerequisite for marriage in all Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Jewish marriages) and is a violation of human rights as well as a form of domestic violence.
No, an arranged marriage is different from a forced marriage. In an arranged marriage the family of both spouses are involved in finding the partners and arranging the marriage. However, the spouses still have a choice about whether the marriage goes ahead.
Forced marriage is sometimes seen as exclusively an issue for Asian communities. Yet there are large numbers of young people being forced to marry in other communities too. These include gypsy/travellers, Middle Eastern, African, South American and Eastern European communities.
Forced marriage is recognised as a form of domestic violence – it is a form of exerting power and control over a person’s choices. There are strong links between forced marriage and so-called ‘honour-based’ violence. This is where a person who does not consent is seen to be dishonouring or shaming the family.
There are a wide range of reasons given by parents and the wider family and community for forcing young people into marriages. Parents say that they are protecting their cultural heritage, building stronger family links or religious traditions.
Other major reasons include: controlling young people’s sexuality, especially young women who are perceived to be promiscuous or young people who are LGBT; ensuring that land or property remains within the family or gaining financially; preventing seemingly ‘unsuitable’ relationships (outside of caste, religion or culture) and provision of long-term care for a child who has a disability (learning or physical).
Yes, on June 16, 2014, the law on forced marriage came into effect and it is now a criminal offence to force someone to marry. This includes:
If you are in immediate risk call 999 or 101 (from a mobile) for the Police
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