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Forced Marriage / Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Forced marriage:

is when pressure or abuse is used to make someone marry against their will.

Pressure used on young people may be include:

- Physical harm – threats or actual physical and/or sexual violence.
- Emotional and psychological – being made to feel they are bringing shame on the family.
- Financial – wages may be taken or money restricted.

The Law states that the youngest age at which you can marry is 16 – but you must have your parents’ permission.  When you are 18, you can marry without parents’ permission.  The Law also states that both of the people who are getting married must agree to it.



If you are, or you are concerned about someone, being forced into marriage against will – you can:

- Speak to our DSL, a tutor, teacher – someone you trust.

- Contact the Forced Marriage Unit who have specially trained staff to help and work out an action plan. 
Call on (in UK) 020 7008 0151
or (outside UK) 0044 7008 0151 
or email

Links to external support services:

Karma Nirvana
Offers support, information and help with rehousing to victims of forced marriage, domestic abuse and honour based crimes.  Offers a bi-lingual service.
Confidential helpine – 01332 604098

Provides help and advice to young people on all matters of abuse, exploitation and forced marriage.
Call – 0800 1111 (calls are free from most networks)
Web - (there is a ‘cover my tracks’ facility if you do not want your visits to this site showing on your search history)


Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
is also called ‘female cutting’ or ‘female circumcision’ and is described by the WHO as any procedure involving the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

FGM is illegal in the UK and carries a penalty of up to 14 years in prison.

FGM is classed as child abuse [Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003] and it is illegal to:
- perform FGM in the UK
- assist or arrange for anyone to carry out FGM abroad on girls who are British Nationals or habitual
  UK residents
- assist a girl to carry out FGM on herself.

Warning indicators:

- significant changes in behaviour
- absenteeism from school, particularly after a trip to an FGM practising country
- spending long periods of time out of the classroom
- spending longer than usual going to the toilet
- avoiding going to the toilet
- discomfort when sitting down
- avoiding physical exercise and PT classes
- frequent menstrual or urinary infections

Note - Often children are unaware that FGM is going to take place and this may mean that very few warning signs before it occurs.



National FGM Helpline:  0800 028 3550

Police:  101


Links to external support services:

National FGM Centre:

NHS Choices:


Daughters of Eve:   Text – 07983 030488