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Child abuse

Forced marriage and honour killings

Everyone has the right to choose who they marry and when they marry, or if they marry at all.

Forced marriage is when someone does not consent and faces pressure to marry. This pressure could be physical (for example threats, physical violence or sexual violence) or emotional and psychological pressure (for example if someone is made to feel like they are bringing shame on their family).

Men, women and children of all ages and backgrounds can be victims of forced marriage.

Forced marriage is a serious abuse of human rights and is illegal in the UK. This includes taking someone overseas to force them to marry (whether the forced marriage takes place or not) and marrying someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they are pressured or not).

Find out more about forced marriage and what protection, advice and support is available.

Forced marriage is different from an arranged marriage, where families take a leading role in choosing a partner for their son or daughter and both parties give their full and free consent.

Honour killings

An honour killing is the murder of a person by members of their family or social group, carried out in the name of protecting cultural beliefs or honour with the purpose of controlling behaviour.

Those targeted are believed to have shamed their family or community or violated the principles of their religion.

They are often linked to reasons such as refusing to enter an arranged marriage, being in a relationship that is disapproved by their family, having sex outside of marriage, becoming the victim of rape, dressing in ways which are deemed inappropriate, engaging in homosexual relations or renouncing a faith.

Honour killings are especially targeted against women and homosexuals, and occur in various cultures worldwide, including in the UK.

If you have concerns about someone’s safety please call the police on 999.

Getting help

Karma Nirvana

UK charity supporting victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage. National helpline offering direct support and guidance to victims and professionals. Provides training to the police, NHS and social care services.

0800 5999 247

Forced Marriage Unit

Contact the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) if you’re trying to stop a forced marriage or need help leaving a forced marriage. Offer free advice on what to do next, as well as help with finding a safe place to stay and stopping a UK visa if you’ve been forced to sponsor someone.

020 7008 0151


Advice and support for children and young people who are victims of honour-based abuse or being forced into marriage. Children and young people aged under 19 can call the confidential 24 hour helpline or chat online with a counsellor.

0800 1111

If you are worried about the safety or wellbeing of a child or young person in Devon,
please complete the request for support online form.


If you think that the child is at risk of significant harm,
contact our Front Door directly by calling 0345 155 1071.


In an emergency call 999.