Forced Marriage

Forced marriage is defined by the Home Office as "when you face physical pressure to marry (for example, threats, physical violence or sexual violence) or emotional and psychological pressure (eg if you’re made to feel like you’re bringing shame on your family)".

If you are experiencing a forced marriage, or you're worried about someone else, there is help available. Ask to speak to an Advisor at the Student Hub in Stoke, or an Information Point in Stafford or Shrewsbury, who can provide you with confidential information, support and assistance.

The British High Commission commissioned three short animated documentaries on the issue of Forced Marriages in Pakistan in an attempt to raise awareness of this human rights violation:



Forced Marriage Unit (FMU)
The Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office launched the joint Forced Marriage Unit in 2005.  The unit undertakes policy and awareness raising projects, as well as providing practical advice to people at risk of being forced into marriage.

'What is Forced Marriage' is an informative guide produced by the FMU which contains case studies and answers to some frequently asked questions. The FMU has also published 'Forced Marriage: A Survivors Handbook' which has details of organisations that can give you help and advice.

The FMU operates a public helpline to provide advice and support to victims of forced marriage.

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7008 0151
Facebook: Forced Marriage page
Twitter: @FMUnit

The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) produced a series of videos on the topic of forced marriage.  The video on the left, 'Right to Choose: the consequences of forced marriage' highlights the devastating impact of forced marriages on both victims and families.

The video on the right was published by the FMU as the summer holidays are the peak time for young people to be taken overseas and forced into marriage. In some cases they're taken on what they have been told is a holiday to visit family abroad, but in fact a marriage has been planned. Once abroad, victims are often even more isolated than they might have been in the UK and getting help is more difficult.

Karma Nirvana
Karma Nirvana is a British Human Rights Charity supporting victims of Honour Based Abuse and Forced Marriage.
Karma Nirvana operate a national helpline that has helped thousands of victims.  They have multilingual call handlers who are highly experienced and well trained, they understand the complex and emotional issues around honour and shame.  Some of their team are survivors themselves and have experienced honour-based abuse first hand.

Telephone:  0800 5999247 (Open 9am - 9pm Weekdays & 10am - 4pm Weekends)
Facebook: Karma Nirvana page
Twitter: @KNFMHBV

JAN Trust
JAN Trust are an award winning charity who led the 'Against Forced Marriages' campaign. They cater for disadvantaged and marginalised women from minority and hard-to-reach groups and work on a range of issues. Preventing forced marriage is one of their top priorities.

They have their own confidential helpline to support victims who fear being pressured into a forced marriage or are already in one. They provide victims with all the information they need on forced marriages, discuss the options available to them and support them at every step of the way.  They offer free confidential advice and assistance to:

  • Victims who have been forced into marriage.

  • Those at risk of being forced into marriage.

  • People worried about friends or relatives.

  • Teachers or professionals working with actual or potential victims of forced marriage.

FREE helpline number: 0800 141 2994 (Calls will be received on Wednesdays and Thursdays, between 10.30am – 4.30pm. On all other days an answering machine will be in service and ALL callers who leave a message will be contacted if requested)
Facebook: JAN Trust 
Twitter: @ForcedMarriages 

Freedom Charity
Freedom Charity were instrumental in making forced marriage a crime in the UK. Freedom Charity have a 24 hour, seven days a week helpline. The Helpline and Text line are manned by trained professionals to help victims of forced marriage and their friends who are seeking help, support and advice.

24 Hour Helpline: 0845 607 0133
Textline: Text '4freedom' to 88802 (free)
Facebook: Freedom Charity page
Twitter: @freedomcharity

Staffordshire Women's Aid
Staffordshire Women's Aid is a specialist service who provide Domestic and Sexual Violence Services. They are committed to equality and diversity and aim to provide a service for all regardless of ethnicity, sexuality, disability, religion or class.  While their work is situated within the Violence Against Women and Girls Agenda they also offer services to male victims which are appropriately provided in safe separate venues.

24 Hour Helpline: 0870 2700 123
Facebook: Staffordshire Women's Aid Page
Twitter: @StaffsWomensAid

Staffordshire Victim Gateway
Staffordshire Victim Gateway is a free and confidential service that provides information, advice, or practical and emotional support, to all victims of crime in Staffordshire, even if you haven’t reported the crime to the police.
Forced marriage is illegal in England and Wales. This includes:

  • taking someone overseas to force them to marry (whether or not the forced marriage takes place)

  • marrying someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they’re pressured to or not)

Staffordshire Victim Gateway can offer advice and support.

Telephone: 0330 0881 339
Facebook: Staffordshire Restorative Justice Hub
Twitter:  @StaffsRJHub

Please note that Staffordshire University is not responsible for the quality, accuracy or effectiveness of the services, information or advice provided by organisations external to the University.