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Cases reported to Forced Marriage Unit rose by 13 per cent in 2018

1,507 cases reported

In 2018, the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) gave advice or support related to a possible forced marriage in 1,507 cases. The figures are given in newly revised information on the number of cases reported to the Forced Marriage Unit via its public helpline and email inbox from 1 January to 31 December 2018.

These figures include contact that has been made to the FMU in relation to a new case of actual or potential forced marriage through the public helpline or by email, and does not include general enquires.

Between 2011 and 2017 the FMU provided support in an average of 1,338 cases per year. The number of cases in 2018 represents a 13 per cent increase upon that average and is the highest number since these statistics were first produced in the current format in 2011. This does not necessarily represent an increase in the prevalence of forced marriage in the UK.

According to the report, there are other potential reasons for the increase in cases:

- Two court cases which received significant amounts of media attention and resulted in prosecutions
- Wider media attention possibly raising awareness of forced marriage
- The launch of the Home Office communication campaign about forced marriage.

Of the cases that FMU provided support to:

In 2018, the majority of cases (1,129 – 75 per cent) involved women, with 267 cases (18 per cent) involving men (gender in the remaining cases was unknown). These proportions are in line with previous years.

Forced marriage is not a problem specific to one country or culture. Since 2011, the FMU has handled cases relating to countries across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America.

The figures in the document were revised in April 2020 and now exclude general enquiries not related to forced marriage. Figures published in an earlier document included general enquiries not related to forced marriage, which the FMU recorded for the first time in 2018. In order to ensure comparability between the 2018 figures and those in previous years, we have revised the 2018 figures.

In 2018, the FMU handled cases relating to 64 'focus2' countries. The six non-UK countries with the highest number of cases in 2018 were:

For the full data, please click here.