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14th April 2023

More than 400 victims forced into marriage in UK

Sky News exclusive with Karma Nirvana

More than 400 victims were forced into marriage in the UK over the last year, data shared with Sky News reveals.

A leading charity which aims to end honour-based abuse in the UK is calling on the government to recognise and adopt their new survivor-informed definition of the crime, as data shows offences in England and Wales rose for a second consecutive year.

In new data shared exclusively with Sky News, charity Karma Nirvana said they supported more than 2,500 victims of honour-based abuse within the last year, 417 of them were forced into marriage and at least 82 children in the UK were threatened with being wed.

A new, clear and detailed definition of the issue is being shared with the government on Friday in the hope the Home Office recognise and adopt it, with the minister for safeguarding saying they “will consider whether there needs to be a change”.

Natasha Rattu, executive director of Karma Nirvana, told Sky News: “A clear definition for honour-based abuse is needed because the issues are so hidden and are often misidentified.

“It’s really vitally important that those who are on the front line have an opportunity to identify it, such as police officers, social workers and health professionals, so they can offer the best support.”

The charity also claims policing around this issue has “regressed over the last nine years” since an inspection was carried out in 2015.

It found that only three police forces out of 43 were equipped to deal with honour-based abuse offences – they are now demanding re-inspections of police forces across the country.

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