A forced marriage is where one or both people do not consent to the marriage and pressure or abuse is used. The pressure put on people to marry against their will can be:
- physical (including threats, actual physical violence and sexual violence).
- emotional and psychological (for example, when someone is made to feel like they’re bringing shame on their family).
- financial abuse (taking your wages or not giving you any money).
Young people rarely feel able to disclose their feelings about forced marriage. However there are some warning signs that may indicate the possibility of an impending forced marriage:
- extended absence from school/college, truancy, drop in academic performance, low motivation, excessive parental restriction and control of movements, and history of siblings leaving education early to marry
- poor attendance in the workplace, poor performance, parental control of income and limited career choices
- evidence of self-harm, treatment for depression, attempted suicide, social isolation, eating disorders or substance abuse
- evidence of family disputes/conflict, domestic violence/abuse or running away from home
A young person demonstrating any of the above may not be necessarily at risk, but if you feel concerned about a potential forced marriage you should contact the Forced Marriage Unit on 020 7008 0151.
Forced Marriage: A Survivor's Handbook contains further information.
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