On 16th June 2014, new legislation was introduced which means that forced marriage is a crime.
Under the new legislation, anyone found guilty of forced marriage can face up to seven years imprisonment.
Forced marriage is a crime where one or both spouses do not, or cannot, consent to the marriage and duress is involved. This can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure. In some cases victims suffer violence and abuse.
Forced marriage is not the same as an 'arranged marriage' which is a cultural practice, which is not unlawful, and involves the consent of both spouses.
Some of the signs which might indicate that someone is facing or is already a victim of forced marriage include:
- Domestic abuse or rape
- Depression, or becoming worried or withdrawn
- Poor performance at work, school or college or often being absent
- No control over their own money
- A surprise engagement to an apparent stranger
- They may not come back from a visit to another country
- Early or unwanted pregnancy
If you or someone you know has concerns about forced marriage West Yorkshire Police has specially trained officers who are here to help and will take every report very seriously. We will respect the views of the victims and provide the necessary support.
You can contact West Yorkshire Police in a non emergency 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by calling 101.
If you are deaf or hard of hearing please use type talk 18001 101.
If there is a danger to life or a crime is in progress always call 999.
There are Safeguarding Units in every district of West Yorkshire with professionals who understand the issues of forced marriage and know how to help:
- Wakefield District Safeguarding Unit - 01924 878398
- Calderdale District Safeguarding Unit - 01422 337041
- Kirklees District Safeguarding Unit - 01924 335073
- Bradford District Safeguarding Unit - 01274 376116
- Leeds District Safeguarding Unit - 0113 3859590
Other agencies that can help
- You can report an offence in confidence and anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
- Karma Nirvana Helpline - 0800 5999 247
- Childine 0800 1111
- Home Office Forced Marriage Unit - www.gov.uk/forced-marriage