Forced marriage

If one or both parties do not, or cannot, consent to a marriage it is a forced marriage.

This is different from arranged marriage where both parties give their full and free consent.

We believe everyone in Scotland who can marry, or enter into a civil partnership, has the right to do so freely and without physical or emotional pressure.


The Forced Marriage etc. (Protection and Jurisdiction) (Scotland) Act 2011 came into force in November 2011.

It introduced Forced Marriage Protection Orders (FMPO) to protect people from being forced to marry, or who are already in a forced marriage.

To extend protection to those at risk, forcing someone into marriage was made a criminal offence in Scotland in September 2014.

Statutory and practitioner guidance

We produced guidance to coincide with both pieces of legislation.

Statutory guidance

The Statutory guidance describes the responsibilities of chief executives, directors and senior managers in agencies that handle cases of forced marriage.

It covers: roles and responsibilities, accountability, training, interagency working, information sharing, risk assessment and record keeping.

Practitioner guidance

The Multi-Agency Guidance is for frontline staff and volunteers in agencies and organisations who are likely to come across adults, children or young people threatened with, or in, a forced marriage.

Guidance for legal professionals

We published guidance to help legal professionals to work with victims of forced marriage sensitively and effectively, and also with other agencies involved with the victim.

Forced marriage awareness raising leaflets and posters

We produced leaflets and posters, in English and community languages, to raise awareness of the criminalisation of forced marriage.

Imams Against Forced Marriage statement

Forced marriages are not associated with any particular religion or religious practice. However it still exists in some communities.

The Imams Against Forced Marriage statement condemns the practice and explains that it has no basis in Islam. It is available in English and community languages.

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