Forced marriage

Help and advice if you are worried

No one should be forced to marry against their will. You can get help if you are worried that this might be happening to you or to someone you know. Don't be afraid to speak out.

You can get advice and details of organisations who can help on the Forced Marriage Scotland website. They also have a free 24 hour helpline

0800 027 1234.

You can also contact Social Care Direct for help or phone 999 in an emergency.

A form of abuse of adults or children

Forced marriage is a form of child abuse if it involves a child under the age of 16. It is a form of domestic abuse where one or both adults are given no choice about marrying. They either do not or cannot consent to the marriage and force is involved.

For example, one or both adults may be

  • threatened or beaten to make sure they marry
  • told that they are bringing shame on their family if they don't marry
  • taken abroad without knowing it is to marry and stopped from coming back.

This is different to arranged marriages. Here the families take a leading role in choosing the marriage partner. Both bride and groom are part of the decision making process.

Forced marriage involves knowingly taking advantage of an adult's vulnerability. This vulnerability may be due to a learning disability or incapacity to consent to, or understand the nature of, the marriage.