Everyone has the right to choose who they marry, when they marry, or even if they want to get married at all.
Forced Marriage FAQs
Is forced marriage against the law?
- Yes, forcing someone to marry against their will is a crime. The law can protect you if you are at risk of being forced into marriage. Since 2011 there is legislation to provide protection to people threatened with forced marriage and those already in such marriages. In 2014 forcing someone into marriage was made a criminal offence in Scotland.
What is a forced marriage protection order?
- Forced Marriage Protection Orders (FMPO) are designed to prevent a forced marriage occurring or to offer protective measures when a forced marriage has taken place. Forced Marriage Protection Orders can be tailored to suit the needs of the victim. They can include restrictions, requirements or bans that the court thinks will stop or change the behaviour of people who would force a victim into marriage. For example, a FMPO might stop someone from being taken abroad or demand that passports, birth certificates and travel documents are handed over to the court.
- If you have a Forced Marriage Protection Order in place it means that no one is allowed to pressure you to marry. A FMPO is not a criminal matter unless it is breached. It lasts as long as you need it to.
I am being forced to marry, what should I do?
- If you have been forced to marry, or you think your family is planning your wedding here or overseas, speak to someone you trust like a teacher or colleague, or phone SDAFMH or the Forced Marriage Unit immediately. You can also contact the police if you feel threatened.
Someone I know is at risk of forced marriage – what should I do?
- If you have concerns for a friend, colleague or family member try to speak to them about what they are going through. You may need to talk to the person in private, away from their family – let them know that they can trust you and try to keep the lines of communication open so that they know you are always there for them. If you want advice or non-emergency assistance you can call the Forced Marriage Unit or SDAFMH for more information. If you ever witness an assault or feel that someone is in immediate danger you can call the Police on 999.
Other people who can help:
Charity number SC001099 and a company limited by guarantee, registered company number SC128433.
© Scotland’s domestic abuse and forced marriage helpline.