You can call our helpline on 0800 141 2994 on behalf of someone you know. Urgent cases should be reported to the Forced Marriage Unit on 020 7008 0151 or the police on 999.
Warning signs of a case of forced marriage can include the following:
- Absence and persistent absence
- Request for extended leave of absence and failure to return from visits to country of origin
- Surveillance by siblings or cousins
- Decline in behaviour, engagement, performance or punctuality
- Being withdrawn from school by those with parental responsibility and not being provided with suitable education at home
- Not allowed to attend extracurricular activities
- Prevented from going on to further/higher education
- Self harm and/or attempted suicide
- Acid attacks
- Eating disorders
- Substance abuse
- Early/unwanted pregnancy
- Siblings forced to marry
- Early marriage of siblings
- Self-harm or suicide of sibling
- Death of a parent
- Family disputes
- Running away from home
- Unreasonable restrictions e.g. kept at home by parents (“house arrest”) and ﬁnancial restrictions
- Police involvement
- Poor performance
- Poor attendance
- Limited career choices
- Not allowed to work
- Unable to attend business trips or functions
- Subject to ﬁnancial control e.g. conﬁscation of wages/income
- Leaving work accompanied
- Inﬂexible working arrangements
These warning signs are not intended to be exhaustive.
Remember: Just because someone is showing one or more of these warning signs does not necessarily mean he/she is at risk of a forced marriage. These warning signs might also indicate other types of abuse. Call us on our free and confidential helpline for advice: 0800 141 2994
Read the Government's guidance on forced marriage in ‘The Right to Choose: Multi-agency statutory guidance for dealing with forced marriage.’
- Take as many details as you can and photocopies of documents (passport details, flights, departure date, date they are due to come back, where they will be staying, and ask for a recent photo of them).
- Tell them to take an additional mobile phone topped up with £20 at least – this phone should be kept secret and switched off, to use only in an emergency.
- Research the nearest British Embassy or British High Commission to where they will be staying, and make sure they have their number on their mobile phone.
- Click here for a list of the main British Embassies and British High Commissions abroad.
- Call the Forced Marriage Unit on 020 7008 0151
Remember, even if it’s just a gut feeling and you have no evidence, call us or the Forced Marriage Unit and get advice. Whether it is for yourself for your friend, your information will be kept confidential. The sooner you take action the better.