If I think I might be forced into a marriage when I go abroad. What should I do?

If you are concerned that you will be forced into marriage when abroad, contact us. Once you leave the country, it is much harder to get help. However, there are some steps you can take to improve your situation when abroad. Take the address and contact details of a trusted friend and of the High Commission/Embassy in the country you are visiting. You should also take some money, both in sterling and in the local currency, along with a spare mobile phone. Photocopy your passport and tickets before you leave.

How can you guarantee my safety?

Whilst we cannot guarantee your safety, we can put you in contact with agencies whose job it is to protect you. Refuges can provide you with somewhere safe to stay if you choose to leave home. You can also be accommodated if you are a man or a couple. You should always call the police if you are in immediate danger.

I don’t want to get married, but have nowhere to go?

There are housing services available for victims of Forced Marriage and Honour Abuse. These are safe environments where you can receive emotional and practical help, such as access to counselling. You can also be assisted in organising benefits and permanent housing. You will be encouraged to become independent, and to make your own decisions about your future. You will be provided with freedom, one of the most significant components in a happy and healthy life.

Which communities does this abuse affect?

Honour crimes are most prevalent within diaspora communities from South Asia, the Middle East, and North and East Africa. Reports come from Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Orthodox Jewish and occasionally traveller communities. Honour Abuse is not determined by gender; both perpetrators and victims can be male or female.

What are the main challenges?

Ensuring everyone in the country understands that culture, religion, and tradition is not an excuse, forced marriage is a criminal offence in the UK.

Raising awareness of Karma Nirvana’s victim support services within communities and places of worship so that victims understand we can help them.

Educating professionals particularly in the Police, Schools, NHS and Social Services to better understand honour-based abuse, forced marriage and best practice in dealing with it.

Arranged or forced: grey area

What starts out as an ‘arranged’ marriage can quickly escalate to a forced marriage. It is not uncommon for one of the participants to change their mind, even on the wedding day only for the families to force them to go through with it.