Skip to main content
Advice and Counselling Service

Forced marriage

What is forced marriage? 

Forced marriage is defined as a marriage contracted without the free and valid consent of one or both parties. It is different to an arranged marriage where there is free and valid consent from both parties. The pressure put on people to marry against their will can be physical (including threats, actual physical violence and sexual violence) or emotional and psychological (for example, when someone is made to feel like they’re bringing shame on their family). Financial abuse (e.g. withholding money) can also be a factor. 

Specialist help is available to support you to make your own decision about what you want to do, and to help you understand how you can access housing and money if you do choose to move away from your family. 

Queen Mary’s Report and Support 

Queen Mary's Report and Support webpages provide more information about forced marriage, including details of specialist external organisations who can help. 

You can use Report and Support to do any or all of the following: 

  • Let the University know about your experience (and help inform future prevention work). 
  • Request support from the Advice and Counselling Service.  
  • Request formal action (such as a University investigation). 

Support from Advice and Counselling 

Welfare Advice: our welfare advisers can offer you advice and guidance with practical issues including housing, finances and studies. .  

Counselling: counsellors can support you with the difficult emotions you may be experiencing as a result of the fear of being forced into a marriage, or of already being in a forced marriage. Having the space to think about your feelings in a confidential setting can help you to decide what action you want to take (if any), and can help you to feel emotionally supported in your choice. 

Confidentiality: please be reassured that the Advice and Counselling Service is confidential. This means that the fact that you have attended appointments at the Advice and Counselling Service, and anything discussed during appointments, will not normally be passed to anyone outside the Service without your permission. Read our confidentiality policy for further information. 

Back to top