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LEGAL GUIDE: Reporting Forced Marriage & Honour Crimes - Your Rights

Recently, more and more research has been carried out on forced marriage and honour crimes in Scotland. These crimes are a form of gender-based violence, and may include a range of different offences. Among the general public, there is still a lot of confusion as to what these crimes might look like and how to go about reporting them. What support services are in place? What are my rights if I choose to report a forced marriage or honour crime?

Today, we are proud to launch our latest legal guide: Reporting Forced Marriage and Honour Crimes - Your Rights.

This guide aims to provide clear and accessible information in order to equip victim-survivors with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the process of reporting.

A forced marriage is a marriage where one or both parties do not consent to the marriage (or do not have the capacity to consent, in the case of children or adults with mental disorders) and where some level of coercion is involved. Honour crimes, or honour-based violence, refer to a range of offences - such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, confinement, a forced marriage, and many others. These may be characterised as honour crimes when they involve the victim-survivor being punished by their family or community for what is regarded as having brought ‘shame’ to them by not behaving in a manner the family or community believe is appropriate.

These crimes often bring specific complexities, such as complicated family and community influences or cultural factors. It is always a personal choice whether or not to report a forced marriage or honour crime to the police. If you do choose to report, it is vital to know that you are entitled to a range of rights. Knowing what your rights mean is a powerful tool for accessing justice in cases of forced marriages, honour crimes, or other types of gender-based violence.

Read the leaflet online in full here and find out more about:

  • What does the law say about forced marriage and honour crime?
  • What responsibilities do the police have that relate to my complaint?
  • What should I expect from an investigation?
  • What can I if I am not satisfied with the police action?
  • How do I keep myself safe?
  • Who can I contact for further support and advice?

There are many agencies that can offer support to victim-survivors of forced marriage and honour crimes, including Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline. The SWRC helpline is also available for further legal advice.

Keep an eye out for further resources - we at the SWRC will continue to support all women and girls who have experienced gender-based violence to access justice!

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