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Forced Marriage & Honour Based Abuse (Violence)

People from a broad spectrum of religious/national and community groups are potential victims of honour based abuse and forced marriage. Find out more about support available here.

Forced Marriage

A Forced Marriage is a marriage in which one or both parties do not (or in some cases of people with learning disabilities, cannot) consent to a marriage, often pressure, coercion or abuse is used. A forced marriage is different to an arranged marriage where a person fully consents to their parents, a friend or a third party (such as a matchmaker) identifying a spouse (who is also in agreement to the marriage) and makes arrangements for a marriage between the two people to take place.

The pressure put on people to marry against their will can include physical abuse, emotional, psychological or financial abuse, blackmail and threats.

Forced marriage is recognised in the UK as a form of violence against women and men, domestic/child abuse and a serious abuse of human rights. It is a criminal offence to force someone to marry against their will, this includes:

  • Taking someone overseas to force them to marry
  • Marrying someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they’re pressured or not)
  • Breaching a Forced Marriage Protection Order

Anybody convicted of forcing someone into marriage could be jailed for up to seven years.

Refusing to marry can place victims at serious risk of harm, known as ‘honour based violence’, which could even result in death.

If you or someone you know is being forced into a marriage against their will there are a number of services that you can contact who will be able to provide help:

The Forced Marriage Protection Unit Link

Telephone: 020 7008 0151
From overseas: +44 (0)20 7008 0151

Karma Nirvana – 0800 5999 247

Hillingdon Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVA) – 0208 246 1745

If you have concerns about a child being forced into marriage against their will or believe they are at risk of harm, contact Hillingdon MASH to make a safeguarding referral (01895) 556633. (link to the MASH page)

The Police – 999 (always call the police if the situation is an emergency)

Honour Based Abuse (Violence)

Honour based abuse (also known as Honour based violence) is a crime or incident that may be committed in the misguided belief that the honour of a person, family or community is being protected. Honour based abuse is frequently perpetrated by family members or close acquaintances who incorrectly think that someone, through their actions or behaviour, has brought shame or dishonour upon the family or community group and that these actions warrant a violent punishment. Honour based abuse should never be underestimated; just the perception or rumour of someone acting in a way that is deemed ‘immoral’ may be sufficient enough for a perpetrator to commit a crime or even a murder. Such behaviour may include:

  • Wearing clothes or taking part in activities which might not be considered traditional within a particular culture
  • The existence of a boyfriend or girlfriend from a different culture, religion, caste or country
  • Wanting to get out of an arranged marriage
  • Wanting to get out of a forced marriage
  • Pregnancy outside of marriage
  • An interfaith relationship
  • Leaving a spouse or seeking a divorce
  • Kissing or intimacy in a public place

Honour based abuse cuts across all cultures and communities and men, women and children are victims.

Honour based crimes do not always involve direct violence, crimes committed in the name of ‘honour’ might include:

  • Domestic Abuse
  • Threats of violence
  • Sexual or psychological abuse
  • Forced Marriage
  • Being held against your will or taken somewhere you don’t want to go
  • Assault

Victims are sometimes persuaded to return to their country of origin under false pretences, when in fact the intention could be to kill them. Victims of domestic violence who have fled or are trying to flee their abusive marriage are often perceived by relatives as bringing shame upon their own blood family; therefore they may be at risk not only from their spouse and in laws, but also from their own parents, siblings, cousins and wider community members resulting in the victim becoming isolated, depressed and on some occasions resulting in them committing suicide.

Honour based abuse affects the whole community, not just those involved or victimised directly.

If you believe that you or someone you know is at risk of honour based abuse or violence, you should notify the police straight away. You do not have to wait for a crime to be committed before you speak to the police about any fears you may have around honour based abuse. The police take all instances of honour based abuse seriously and are dedicated to supporting and protecting victims of abuse.

You can also speak to a number of other services to seek support and advice:

Karma Nirvana – 0800 5999 247

Hillingdon IDVA – 0208 246 1745

The Police – 999 (always call the police if the situation is an emergency)

If you have concerns about a child being at risk of honour based abuse or believe they are at risk of harm, contact Hillingdon MASH to make a safeguarding referral (01895) 556 633.

Forced Marraige Guidance Link


Information on this page has been sourced from the Hillingdon Safeguarding Children Partnership (SCP).

Hillingdon Local Safeguarding Children Board