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National Safeguarding Adults Week

Published: Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Day 2: Forced Marriage, PREVENT agenda and Domestic Abuse

What is Forced Marriage?

It is illegal to force someone to marry against their will. Forced marriage is a crime where one or both spouses do not, or cannot, consent to the marriage and force is involved. This can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual or emotional pressure. 

Forced marriage is not the same as an arranged marriage. Arranged marriage is a cultural practice, is not unlawful, and involves the consent of both spouses.

In 2014, legislation was introduced meaning that to force someone to marry against their will is a crime, and anyone found guilty of this can face up to seven years in prison. Potential victims or victims of forced marriage may be experiencing:

  • Domestic abuse;
  • Sexual assault and rape;
  • Depression;
  • Poor performance at work, school or college or regular absence;
  • No control over their own money;
  • A surprise engagement to an apparent stranger;
  • They may not return from a visit to another country; and
  • Early or unwanted pregnancy.

How do I report a suspected Forced Marriage?

The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) is a joint Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Home Office unit which leads on the Government's Forced Marriage policy, outreach and casework. It operates a public helpline to provide advice and support to victims, and to professionals dealing with cases.

They can be contacted via:

What is the PREVENT agenda? 

PREVENT is one of the most challenging parts of the counter-terrorism strategy, because it operates in the pre-criminal space - before any criminal activity takes place. 

It is about safeguarding - supporting and protecting - those people who might be susceptible to radicalisation, and ensuring that both individuals and communities have the resilience to resist violent extremism.

There is no single profile for a terrorist, or those who are likely to be drawn into terrorist and criminal behaviour. What you need to look out for are the vulnerabilities which make some susceptible to the violent extremism message. Radicalisation is a process where someone's vulnerabilities are exploited towards violent means, and by a third person in many cases. They will use these vulnerabilities to highlight a sense of anger and injustice, and play on grievances, in order to justify violent action.

Safeguarding someone from radicalisation is no different to safeguarding them from other forms of harm.

How do I report a suspected case of radicalisation?

If you have any worries or concerns or would like more information on PREVENT and the signs and behaviours, please contact the Warwickshire and West Mercia Police PREVENT Officers via email at

Please remember, in an emergency, always ring 999. 

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is a serious and complex issue. It is a crime that remains largely hidden behind closed doors, leaving victims feeling trapped, powerless and isolated - powerless to say anything in case it makes a bad situation even worse.

Domestic abuse is rarely a one-off event. On average, a victim will endure 30 to 35 assaults before seeking help. The level of abuse is likely to increase over time, and could even result in murder.

Experience suggests that friends, families and neighbours are often aware or suspect something is happening, but, for one reason or another, are reluctant to get involved. This is a mistake. Domestic abuse ruins family life and has long term, serious consequences for everyone concerned.

Domestic violence and abuse is defined as: "Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality".

The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

  • Psychological;
  • Physical;
  • Sexual;
  • Financial; and
  • Emotional abuse. 

The GOV.UK website provides detailed information about what Domestic abuse is, and the legal remedies available to victims. 

How do I report Domestic Abuse?

Remember to always call 999 if you or someone else is in immediate danger. 

You can also report Domestic Abuse via:

  • Telephone to the Police on 101
  • In person at your local Police station
  • In person to a Police officer