In an emergency, dial 999
Call us on 0208 571 9595 or walk into our centre 9am-5pm Monday to Friday
Are you being forced into a marriage in this country? Or you are worried that you will be taken abroad for this purpose? We can help you. Forced marriage is against the law and is a form of domestic abuse.
You can apply for a forced marriage protection order to prevent the person who is trying to force you into a marriage from doing so.
You do not have to apply for a protection order yourself. The police, social services or a relevant third party, like a trusted friend or a women’s organisation – such as Southall Black Sisters – can also apply on your behalf.
If you fear being taken abroad
If you are worried about being taken abroad for a forced a marriage, you can call or email our confidential helpline, or walk into our centre in Southall, for advice on how you can protect yourself.
If you cannot leave home or cannot avoid going abroad, try to leave the following information and items with someone you trust and if possible, an agency that could help you with returning to the UK, like Southall Black Sisters.
- Copies of your passport, and details page with passport number, place and date of issue and date of birth;
Recent photograph of yourself;
- Parents’ names and their address and telephone number in the UK;
- The names and addresses of relatives you are likely to be staying with abroad;
- Date you are expecting to return to the UK;
- Your mobile phone number;
- A letter authorising someone you trust, or an organisation that can help you, to contact the police and/or Foreign and Commonwealth Office on your behalf.
Before you go abroad, try to make sure you have the following information and items with you.
- Copies of your passport photo page showing your passport number, place and date of issue and date of birth;
- The address and telephone number of the British High Commission/Consulate in the country you are visiting which you can find on the Forced Marriage Unit website or by calling 020 7008 0151 from the UK or 0044 20 7008 0151 from overseas;
- If at all possible take some money and a mobile phone with you;
- The contact details of the person or organisation you have left your details with.
Once you are at the airport, if you have any opportunity to speak to any airline staff, security personnel, or the police, make them aware that you are being taken abroad against your will to be forced into a marriage.
Once you are outside of the UK
Once abroad, you should contact the nearest High Commission or Embassy. They will try to help you to get back to the UK and can issue you with an emergency passport, provide you with safe accommodation in the country and arrange safe transport back to the UK.
You should only tell people you trust completely about your flight details when you are returning home.
Once back in the UK
You will need to find somewhere safe to stay and you may need protection against family members trying to find you. Call or email our confidential helpline for advice on how to stay safe and obtain legal advice.
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LINKS FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Women’s Aid Website
The Survivor’s Handbook: Print and Audio Versions
Making arrangements for children after separation: the role of the family courts.
Rights of Women
Rights of Women have fact sheets on residence, contact and parental responsibility that can be downloaded for free from their website.
Women lawyers provide advice on 020 7251 6577 (telephone) or 020 7490 2562 (textphone) on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm and Fridays, 12 noon – 2:00 pm.
Reunite runs a 24-hour emergency service for international child abduction cases.
Their advice line on 0116 2556 234 is open Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 5:00 pm or for information see their website.
The Reunite Child Abduction Prevention Guide provides clear and concise information and practical steps to take if you fear your child is in danger of abduction.