Skip to main content
Luton Borough Council

Forced marriage


Use these pages safely

If you need to leave these pages quickly, click on the "Exit this page" button below and you'll go to the Google homepage. If you're worried about someone knowing you have visited this website visit the cover your tracks page.

Exit this page

A forced marriage is one in which one or both spouses do not or cannot (ie if they have learning or physical disabilities or are underage) consent to the marriage and duress is involved.

Duress can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure. Men and women can be forced into marriage.

There is a clear distinction between forced marriage and arranged marriage. In arranged marriages, the families of both spouses take a leading role in arranging the marriage but the choice whether or not to accept the arrangement remains with the respective spouses. In forced marriage, one or both spouses do not or cannot consent to the marriage and duress is involved.

Consent is essential to all marriages. Only the spouses will know if they gave their consent freely. If families have to resort to violence or emotional pressure to make someone marry, that person's consent has not been given freely and, therefore, it is a forced marriage.

If you or someone you know is worried about forced marriage, please call the Foreign & Commonwealth Forced Marriage Unit which can offer:

  • A confidential helpline to those at risk of, or affected by, forced marriage
  • Information for professionals working with children
  • Support workers in embassies to protect citizens subject to forced marriage abroad
  • Arranging repatriation and resettlement of those who have been forced, or are at risk of being forced, into marriage abroad

Foreign & Commonwealth Office Forced Marriage Unit
Tel - 0207 008 0151 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm) 
Email - [email protected]

For out of hours emergencies, please telephone: 0207 008 1500 and ask to speak to the Global Response Centre

For local support and advice

Women's Aid in Luton

Tel - 01582 391856 (Mon-Fri 1000-1700) 
Offering refuge, outreach, drop-in, freedom programme.
Women's Aid in Luton website

Luton Police Force Marriage & Honour Based Abuse Unit

Tel - 01582 394384 (Mon-Fri 0800-1600)
Luton Police Force Marriage & Honour Based Abuse Unit website

Victim Support
Tel - 0845 30 30 900

Other contacts

Honour Network

Tel - 0800 5999 247
Website - 

The Honour Network helpline is a confidential helpline, providing emotional and practical support and advice for victims and survivors (male and female) of forced or child marriage and/or honour based violence and abuse. It provides advice and support to potential victims, victims in crisis and professional agencies.
© 2024 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ