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Useful websites

Contact the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) if you’re trying to stop a forced marriage or you need help leaving a marriage you’ve been forced into.

The one-stop website that provides you with practical information and sources of advice and help on forced marriage.

Happily Never After - forced marriage is a crime
If you or someone you know is being forced into marriage, contact Northumbria Police on 101.

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What is forced marriage?

A forced marriage is when the bride, groom or both don’t want to get married but are forced into it by others. This can often be by family members. People forced into marriage may be tricked into going abroad, threatened by violence and/or emotionally blackmailed to do so. This happens to hundreds of young people every year.

It is different from arranged marriage

An arranged marriage is where both the bride and groom choose whether or not they want to marry the person suggested to them by their families. In a forced marriage there is no freedom of choice.

Signs to look out for

Someone who is being affected by the threat of forced marriage may seem anxious, depressed, emotionally withdrawn or have low self esteem.

They may have a family history of an older brother or sister marrying very young.

Their parents may seem strict, not allowing them to attend after-school clubs or classes.

They may start to self harm; develop an eating disorder; have a change of behaviour; get into trouble; become demotivated and give up on homework or school.

They may stop using social media such as their Facebook page disappearing or not being updated regularly.

Forced Marriage A3 poster

Forced marriage is now a crime

Forced marriage is now a crime and anyone convicted of committing it faces a maximum of seven years in prison.

However, it is not against the law to disagree with or criticise someone because of their religion or their beliefs.
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What to do

If this describes you or you’ve noticed a friend behave in this way don’t ignore or go along with it.

Make sure you talk to a teacher or someone you trust.

They can make sure you are helped by police and other agencies.

Help is also available from the charity Freedom by visiting www.freedomcharity.org.uk

On the website you will find helpline numbers and details of the charity’s app that can be downloaded to offer more help and assistance.

They can also be found on Facebook and Twitter by searching Freedom Charity

Freedom App

The Freedom Charity has created the Freedom app. The app contains information about the signs of forced marriage and a help button that directs you to the Freedom Charity helpline. All smartphones have GPS, so if a person is in danger the phone can be tracked and the police can be alerted.

QR code for Freedom App on Android

Download the Freedom app for Android

QR code for Freedom App on Itunes

Download the Freedom app for iPhone