On average, we receive 700-800 calls a month to our helpline. 40% of calls are from professionals. There is an increase in the number of calls just before the school holidays, as this is when students are taken abroad to be married.
Yes, we support male and female victims experiencing forced marriage and honour-based abuse. We support individuals of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.
Schools are at the heart of prevention as forced marriage and honour-based abuse affect children as well as adults. During the summer holidays, there is a peak in male and female students going missing as they are often taken abroad for a forced marriage. Schools, therefore, play a crucial role in safeguarding students and helping to raise awareness as the absence of some students is not questioned and sometimes professionals regard this abuse as ‘cultural’ when no religion or culture condones this abuse.
We have a young person officer who goes into schools and educational establishments to help raise awareness amongst students and professionals so that they are aware that help and support are available and can support those who are at risk.
The Forced Marriage Unit may be able to help, however, you need to state publicly that you do not want your spouse to join you in the UK.
Yes. Under the Forced Marriage Act 2007, you can apply to designated courts in England and Wales for a Forced Marriage Civil Protection Order. You can also ask someone to do so on your behalf. These orders can be used to prevent someone being forced into a marriage or to protect someone if a forced marriage has already taken place. A person may be arrested if they breach an order.
Your personal safety is important. If you ever feel that you are in danger, you should contact the police immediately. The police will be able to assess your situation, advise you, and also refer you to support organisations. They will not tell your family that you have made contact with them.
If your marriage is seen as valid in the country where it took place, it will often be valid in the UK. You must talk to a solicitor, whether you had a religious or civil marriage. Religious divorce is not valid in the UK.
Provided you are a British National, we can issue you with an emergency passport. If possible, take note of your passport numbers before you leave – this will be of great help.
The Forced Marriage Unit will try and make arrangements for you to come back as soon as possible. However, if you do have to stay abroad for any length of time the British Embassy will assist you.
If you haven’t got the money, and you can’t borrow it from friend or relative, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office may, in some circumstances, be able to loan you the money for a ticket. Remember that you will have to pay this back when you get home.