Forced marriage is a crime, and means a situation where someone is married against their will or is bullied, threatened or abused into agreeing to marry. Forced marriage is a human rights abuse and falls within the definition of domestic violence and abuse.
A forced marriage is not the same thing as an arranged marriage. In an arranged marriage the families of both spouses take a leading role in arranging the marriage, but the choice of whether or not to accept the arrangement remains with the couple. In forced marriage, one or both of the spouses do not consent and there is some element of physical and/or emotional pressure to marry.
Forced marriage occurs within many cultures and classes. A person at risk of a forced marriage may suffer a range of abuses including emotional and physical abuse, unlawful imprisonment, abduction, rape, forced pregnancy or enforced abortion.
Both men and women may be victims of forced marriage. Currently around 250 cases per year are reported in the UK, although it is suspected that many more take place that are unreported.
There is a dedicated government website with more detailed information and contact details of specialist charities that work with people affected by forced marriage - www.forcedmarriage.net
If you think you're being forced into a marriage that you don't want call the Doncaster Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 4701 505.
Remember - In an emergency call 999.