Find out more here
events & training
crime & justice
About this study
Our study details
Forced Marriage |
Prevalence and Service Response
Jun 2009 |
Crime & Justice
NatCen mailing list
1. What is the difference between a forced marriage and an arranged marriage?
A forced marriage is distinct from an arranged marriage. In a forced marriage either the bride or groom, or both the bride and groom, don't consent to the match and duress is involved. Physical, psychological, financial, sexual, or emotional abuse may be used. In an arranged marriage families will arrange the match, but the couple can choose whether or not to go ahead.
2. How has the study been used?
It has informed new guidelines for teachers, doctors and the police telling them how to identify and tackle forced marriage.
3. Is forced marriage a type of domestic violence?
Yes it is. As victims are often under 18, both child protection professionals and domestic violence professionals need to be consulted. Sometimes forced marriages involve ‘honour’ based violence. ‘Honour’ based violence happens when a person is punished for having ‘dishonoured’ their family or community.
4. How can service providers improve their response to forced marriage?
They need to be better coordinated, especially at the local level. Quite often lots of different service providers are involved in a forced marriage case, especially if the victim is under 18 and has been abused in some way. Service providers could also make greater use of the expertise of the Black and Minority Ethnic voluntary sector.
5. How did you come up with the figure of up to 8,000 cases of forced marriages per year?
We arrived at this estimate by counting how many cases of forced marriage were dealt with by national organisations and local organisations from ten local authorities. Our estimate takes into account the ethnicity profile of different local authority areas and that some cases may have been counted twice. Our definition of a case includes the threat of forced marriage as well as actual forced marriage.
6. Is it mostly women being forced into a marriage?
Yes, we estimate that around 4 in 5 reported cases of forced marriage involve a female victim.
7. Doesn't this sort of research just reinforce stereotypes about ethnic minorities?
Although the majority of victims are Pakistani, only a small minority of Pakistani families are involved in cases of forced marriage. Many Black and Minority Ethnic community and voluntary groups are campaigning to raise awareness of forced marriage. Our study advocates distinguishing between arranged marriage, which is a cultural practice, and forced marriage, which is the misuse of this cultural practice to undermine a victim’s individual rights and well being.
British Social Attitudes 29th Report
European Online Grooming Project
NatCen mailing list
Enter your email address to sign up to our NatCen mailing list
NatCen Social Research
35 Northampton Square, London, EC1V 0AX
Charity no. 1091768
terms & conditions