Forced Marriage

One Chance to Save a Life 

"All Chief Executives, directors and senior managers providing services to victims of forced marriage and honour-based violence need to be aware of the "one chance" rule. That is, their staff may only have one chance to speak to a potential victim and thus their staff may only have one chance to save a life. This means that all professionals working within statutory agencies need to be aware of their responsibilities and obligations when they come across forced marriage cases. If the victim is allowed to walk out of the door without support, that one chance might be wasted."

Forced Marriage

Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Board has developed Inter-agency Forced Marriage Guidance (Section 4L)

Remember if you are concerned that someone is being made subject to a forced marriage contact:

Staffordshire County Council's First Response Service on 0800 13 13 126


Staffordshire Police on 101 and ask for M.A.S.H. (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub)

Outside of MASH hours, report to the Area Communications Room.

Forced Marriage Awareness Training

To assist professionals to understand the issues around forced marriage we have developed an awareness programme to be used during team events.

This Powerpoint training package can be downloaded from here   Forced Marriage Awareness Raising  (237kb)

Useful Documents

The Right to Choose: Multi-agency statutory guidance for dealing with forced marriage. 2008

This statutory guidance is issued under the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007. It sets out the processes that agencies must have in place when exercising public functions in relation to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults in cases of forced marriage.

Forced Marriage and Learning Disabilities; Multi Agency practice guidelines

These practice guidelines have been developed to help professionals dealing with forced marriage of people with learning disabilities.


Please note that this guidance is not intended to be used in case handling by front-line practitioners - go to the Foreign and Commomwealth Office website for info for professionals.


eLearning training

The FMU has designed an e-learning training package to support professionals, including education, social and health care professionals, police officers, housing officers, the voluntary sector and others dealing with forced marriage in the course of their work.

Using real life case studies, the training gives professionals a basic understanding of the main issues surrounding forced marriage, how cases can present and how to respond appropriately. This tool complements the multi-agency practice guidelines for professionals and should be read alongside the training. You can access the tool on the Forced marriage eLearning website.

Warning signs

Young people rarely feel able to disclose their feelings about forced marriage.  However there are some warning signs that may indicate the possibility of an impending forced marriage:

  • extended absence from school/college, truancy, drop in performance, low motivation, excessive parental restriction and control of movements and history of siblings leaving education to marry early
  • poor attendance in the workplace, poor performance, parental control of income and limited career choices
  • evidence of self-harm, treatment for depression, attempted suicide, social isolation, eating disorders or substance abuse
  • evidence of family disputes/conflict, domestic violence/abuse or running away from home.

A young person demonstrating any of the above may not be necessarily at risk, but if you feel concerned about a potential forced marriage you should contact the foreign and commonwealth Office  on 020 7008 0151.

The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007

The Forced Marriage Act will give the courts a wide discretion to deal flexibly with each individual case, employing civil remedies that will offer protection to victims without criminalising family members.

For more information go to the Forced Marriage webpage