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Forced Marriage Unit advised in 1485 cases in 2012

Youngest victim was 2 years old; the oldest 71

Latest statistics from the Forced Marriage Unit suggest young people aged between 16 and 25 are most at risk of being forced into marriage.

The Forced Marriage Unit gave advice or support related to a possible forced marriage in 1485 cases. Of the 744 cases where the age was known, 13% involved victims below 15 years, 22% involved victims aged 16-17, 30% involved victims aged 18-21, 19% involved victims aged 22-25, 8% involved victims aged 26-30, 8% involved victims aged 31+. The oldest victim was 71 and the youngest was 2.

The cases involved 60 different countries. They included Pakistan (47.1%), Bangladesh (11%), India (8%), Afghanistan (2.1%), Somalia (1.2%), Turkey (1.1%), Iraq (1%), Iran (0.9%), Nigeria (0.9%), Sri Lanka (0.9%), Egypt (0.6%), Saudi Arabia (0.6%), Yemen (0.6%), The Gambia (0.5%), Morocco (0.5%),  and Ukraine (0.5%). The origin was unknown in 7.7% of cases.

82% of cases involved female victims and 18% involved male victims. 114 cases involved victims with disabilities.  22 involved victims who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Freedom Charity is launching a new smartphone app designed to provide information about forced marriage with links to where potential victims can get help. The free app, which has been part-funded by the Forced Marriage Unit, is available to download on iPhone.

It is hoped that the free app will be a useful tool for both victims and professionals alike. It is designed to look like a game and offers, among other things, advice on where to go for help, and what the warning signs may be.

Freedom Charity founder, Aneeta Prem, said:

"It is more important than ever that everyone in the UK is aware of the warning signs of a forced marriage. By downloading the Freedom app, developed in conjunction with the Government's Forced Marriage Unit and the Metropolitan Police, the user is just a couple of button presses away from life saving help. It's the 999 of apps and we urge everyone to download it, for free, today."