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What is Forced Marriage

A man and woman's hands chained together at the wrist and locked with a padlock. The woman is wearing a wedding ring.

A forced marriage is a marriage in which one or both parties do not (or, in the case of some adults with learning or physical disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and duress is involved.  Duress includes both physical and emotional pressure.

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

The Scottish Government believes that all people in Scotland who are eligible to marry or enter into a civil partnership have a right to do so freely and without coercion.


Who is at risk of Forced Marriage

There is no typical victim of forced marriage - men, women and children of many ages and backgrounds have been and continue to be affected.  In some cases, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people may be forced to marry to protect family honour, or families might force a disabled person to marry in order to provide them with a long-term carer.

Whatever the situation, if anyone uses emotional or physical pressure to force you into a marriage without your consent this is an abuse of your human rights and help is available.