There has been an increase in reports of men being forced into marriage over the last two years, according to figures released today by the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU). Last year the FMU, a joint-initiative between the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Home Office, received over 220 emails and calls to its helpline about suspected forced marriages involving male victims – up from 134 in 2008, an increase of 65%. With the summer holidays approaching, traditionally a time when incidents increase, the FMU is warning professionals who work with young people to be alert and act on any concerns they may have.
Jeremy Browne, Foreign & Commonwealth Office Minister for Consular Policy, said:
“Boys and men who are forced into marriage find it harder to ask for help than women, but we are urging males affected by forced marriage to speak out and seek the help that is available to them.
Lynne Featherstone, Equalities Minister said:
“When young men are forced into marrying women it can be because they are gay or bisexual, or their families suspect that they are. This kind of abuse must not be tolerated.”
Tim Sigsworth, Chief Executive of the Albert Kennedy Trust, has seen first hand the impact that forced marriage can have on young men: “The impact for many young gay and bisexual men facing a forced marriage is twofold. They not only experience a sense of loss from the rejection or ejection by their family and possibly community, but they may also be struggling to come to terms with their sexual orientation without the love, support and guidance which parents may have offered them in other areas of their lives.”
Male and female victims of forced marriage, or others acting on their behalf, can apply for a Forced Marriage Protection Order. An order can be used to prevent someone being forced into marriage or to protect a person where a marriage has already taken place. People can be arrested if they do not comply with the orders. Since coming into force in November 2008, over 150 orders have been taken out.
Helpline: 0207 008 0151