I am being forced into a marriage. What can I do?

Forced marriages occur when one or both of the prospective spouses do not consent to the marriage but are coerced into it by their families or community, and they are illegal in the UK. Everyone has the right to make their own decision as to when and whom they want to marry.
It can be a very difficult and overwhelming if you feel like you are being forced into a marriage you don’t want. Your family may make you feel guilty for rejecting the marriage by saying it is a matter of honor, tradition or religion, or in some cases use physical pressure to intimidate you into accepting the marriage. However, you should never feel as though you do not have a choice, even if it is made to seem that way. No religious scriptures of major religions – Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Sikhism- condone forced marriage, and it is a criminal offence to force anyone into marriage without their consent in the UK.
If you can’t talk to your parents about the marriage, you should speak to another adult who you trust, like a teacher or school nurse. It’s important to let someone know as quickly as possible so that you can be safe and get help. You are not alone, and there are people and organizations who can offer confidential help and guidance to help you escape a forced marriage and make your own decisions.
Your immediate safety is top priority. If anyone is threatening you with violence, you should contact the police immediately. The police will be able to assess your situation, advise you, refer you to support organizations if needed, and most importantly they will not tell your family that you have made contact with them.
The government runs a special unit called the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU), made up of caseworkers with experience in forced marriage who can offer you advice and support and discuss your options. If you want to escape a forced marriage, they can help you access housing services and refuge that is available for victims of forced marriage who do not feel safe in your current home. You can also be assisted in organizing benefits and permanent housing so you can start to rebuild your life and gain independence. Their website is https://www.gov.uk/stop-forced-marriage.
If you fear that your family may attempt to take you abroad to force you to get married, the FMU can help you get a Forced Marriage Protection Order, which is a legal court order that can stop you being taken abroad and forced into marriage and can also help bring you back to the UK if you are taken out of the country. If you are concerned that you will be forced into marriage when abroad, contact someone beforehand. 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, and make sure to photocopy your passport and tickets before you leave.
If you are abroad and realize you are being forced into marriage, you should contact the nearest British Consulate, Embassy or High Commission. They will contact the FMU in the UK and arrange for assistance, and can loan you money and/or provide you with the travel documents needed to fly home.