• Spencer Payne

What Is Forced Marriage?

In order for a marriage to be consensual, it is necessary for both people involved to enter into it freely, with both feeling that they have a choice over whether to go through with it or not.

Anyone can be forced into a marriage, irrespective of age, gender, religion or ethnicity and a forced marriage is a partnership where one or both people don’t or can’t consent, with pressure or abuse used to force them into the contract.

Legally, people who have severe mental health conditions or certain learning disabilities are unable to consent to marriage, even if they feel as though it’s something they want.

In the UK, forced marriage is illegal and, although forcing someone into it may not always be physical, it is always against the law. The pressure being applied on someone can manifest itself in various ways, whether that’s physical pressure in the form of violence or threats, or emotional or psychological pressure.

If you feel that you’re in immediate danger, call the police on 999. Or, if you or someone you know is being forced into a marriage, get in touch with the Forced Marriage Unit, which offers advice and support, information and guidance, while having experience in dealing with the emotional, social and cultural issues involved.

It’s important to understand the difference between a forced and an arranged marriage. The latter sees the families involved taking a leading role in choosing respective partners, but both people due to marry remain free to choose whether or not to go ahead with it.

If you’re looking for a family law barrister to help you with issues relating to forced marriage, or anything else, get in touch with the team here at Hill House Chambers today.

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