Arranged and forced marriages

What is an arranged marriage?

Arranged marriages have worked well in society for many years. An arranged marriage is when families of both spouses take a leading role in arranging the marriage but the choice whether or not to accept the arrangement remains with the prospective spouses.

What is a forced marriage?

A forced marriage is when one or both parties do not consent to the marriage, and people are forced into marriage against their will.

This is not the same as an arranged marriage, where people have a choice about whether to accept the arrangement or not.

Forced marriage is an abuse of human rights. Both physical and emotional abuse may be used to coerce people into the marriage.

What is the Forced Marriage Unit?

The Forced Marriage Unit is a joint initiative  of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Home Office. Their trained professionals offer confidential advice and assistance to:

  • those who have been forced into marriage
  • those at risk of being forced into marriage
  • people worried about friends or relatives
  • professionals working with actual or potential victims of forced marriage