What is it?
A forced marriage is a marriage conducted without the consent of one or both parties or where consent is obtained under duress. This is markedly different from an arranged marriage in which the individuals retain freewill and have the choice to accept the arrangement. A forced marriage is illegal. In forced marriage, perpetrators use physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse to pressurise people to marry against their will. Forced marriage is a form of domestic abuse, primarily against women, although not exclusively, and most cases involve young girls aged between 13 and 30.
What should I do?
From June 16 2014, forcing someone to marry became a criminal offence under the Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014. However, this crime remains largely under-reported as many victims are too frightened to come forward for fear of the repercussions on their families. If you are being forced to marry against your will or suspect someone else is at risk people are available to provide you with support and protection. Forced Marriage is a serious offence and reports will be thoroughly investigated.
How to report?
You can report an incident of forced marriage by contacting Derbyshire police on 101. In an emergency situation, always dial 999.
Forced Marriage Protection Order
A Forced Marriage Protection Order can help if you are:
• being forced into marriage; or
• you are already in a forced marriage.
A Forced Marriage Protection Order is unique to each case and contains legally binding conditions and directions that change the behaviour of a person or persons trying to force someone into marriage. The aim of the order is to protect the person who has been, or is being forced into marriage against their wishes. The court can make an order in an emergency so that protection is in place straightaway.
The court can:
• Make a Forced Marriage Protection Order to protect a person facing forced marriage or who has been forced into marriage
• Add a power of arrest, when violence is threatened or used. This will help the police arrest a person who does not obey a court order that has a power of arrest attached. The person will be brought back to the court to be dealt with under the court’s powers of contempt of court.
Applications for forced marriage protection orders can be made at the same time as a police investigation or other criminal proceedings. Someone who disobeys a court order can be sent to prison for up to two years.
Where to get help?
The Police and Crime Commissioner funds organisations that provide support services for victims and witnesses in Derbyshire. These are free of charge and are available to anyone who lives in Derbyshire. For Forced Marriage these support services are provided by Derbyshire Victim Services.
Derbyshire Victim Services
If you have ever been the victim of crime, or have been affected by a crime committed against someone close to you, Derbyshire Victim Services can provide all the help and support you need. Their local team offers a friendly, free and confidential service to anyone living in Derbyshire. It doesn’t matter if you reported the crime to the Police or not they are here to help you with any practical advice and emotional support.
Text CORE to 82055
Below are a range of other organisations that will be able to provide advice and support: