A forced marriage is a marriage in which one or both spouses do not consent to the marriage but are coerced into it. Duress can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure. In the cases of some adults at risk who lack the capacity to consent, coercion is not required for a marriage to be forced. Forced marriage is not a religious or cultural issue - it is abuse of human rights under the Forced Marriage Act of 2007.
There is a difference between a forced marriage and an arranged marriage. In arranged marriages, the families of both spouses take a leading role in arranging the marriage, but the choice of whether or not to accept the arrangement still remains with the prospective spouses.
Statutory Guidance for Multi-Agency Professionals (2014) is available together with local guidance which can be accessed on the South West Child Protection Procedures. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides further information and resources for professionals protecting, advising and supporting (possible) victims of Forced Marriage.
Honour based violence is a collection of practices, which are used to control behaviour within families or other social groups to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour. Such violence can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code.
It can be distinguished from other forms of violence, as it is as it is often committed with some degree of approval and/or collusion from family and/or community members. Women, men and younger members of the family can all be involved in the abuse.
Honour based violence manifests itself in a diverse range of ways with children and young people, including forced marriage, domestic and/or sexual violence, rape, physical assaults, harassment, kidnap, threats of violence (including murder), or witnessing violence directed towards a sibling or indeed another family member and female genital mutilation.
A protocol on the handling of ‘so-called’ Honour Based Violence and Forced Marriage Offences is available for further advice. This protocol has been agreed between the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). There is also local guidance available on the South West Child Protection Procedures.
To see which services can support someone experiencing honour based violence or forced marriage, visit the Support for Bristol Residents page.