Your rights

You decide who you marry!

Nobody has the right – not even your parents or your family(!) – to force you to a marriage.

Nobody has the right – not even your parents or your family – to chose a partner for you against your will.

Forced marriages violate human rights, the existence of which is acknowledged by almost any states in the world today. Of course, forced marriages are forbidden according to the Basic Constitutional Law of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Thus, a marriage may only be celebrated due to the voluntary and complete declaration of intent of the future spouses.

Not depending on your age and nationality the following is applicable: Forced marriage is not to be justified by any tradition or religion!

Forced marriage is a criminal act!

The German criminal code does not allow anyone – not even your family – to threaten you with violence or to use violence, in order to force you to a marriage.

There are different aspects of violence:

  • If you are hit and/or misused
  • If you are offended, abased, depreciated or threatened
  • If you are locked out
  • If basic needs are refused to you (e.g. food, health, school)
  • If you are not allowed to do an education.

Counselling and protection

If you have not turned 18 years yet, you may contact

  • us, the online counselling service for the protection against forced marriage of Mädchenhaus Bielefeld. With online counselling you don`t have to be afraid that somebody gets to know that you have asked for assistance, as we treat your problems anonymously. We discuss any step with you we will undertake. On request, we arrange some local counselling possibilities for you. You yourself decide what is going to happen. We are supporting you!
  • a girls’ counselling centre. There you will get some advice and support. The educationists will accompany you to other appointments, too, if requested. You will find some corresponding offers under assistance in NRW.
  • a girls’ refuge (assistance in NRW). There you will be protected against threat and violence. There you will be accommodated anonymously, if requested. That may also be done without your parents’ consent, if you are no longer protected at home.
  • the Jugendamt [youth welfare office]. There you will get some advice and support. If you are no longer safe at home, the Jugendamt will accommodate you at a secret and safe place (custody). You will reach the Jugendamt in each city under the phone number of the Stadtverwaltung [city council]. Often, there is an emergency phone line of the Jugendamt for girls/ women in distress which you may contact. We are also well prepared to arrange a local educationist for you who will accompany you to the Jugendamt.

These offers of assistance are free of charge for you!

If you are older than 18 years,

  • you may contact us, the online counselling service for the protection against forced marriage of Mädchenhaus Bielefeld. With online counselling you don`t have to be afraid that somebody gets to know that you have asked for assistance , as we treat your problems anonymously. We discuss anything with you we undertake. On request we arrange some local counselling possibilities for you. You alone decide what is going to happen. We are supporting you!
  • you may contact a girls’ counselling centre (assistance in NRW).
  • you may contact a women’s counselling centre (assistance in NRW).
  • you may contact a women’s refuge or another refuge for protection and accommodation (assistance in NRW)
  • you may contact The Jugendamt. You will reach the Jugendamt in each city under the phone number of the Stadtverwaltung [city council]. Often, there is an emergency phone line of the Jugendamt for girls/ women in distress which you may contact. We are also well prepared to arrange a local educationist for you who will accompany you to the Jugendamt.
  • you may contact a women’s emergency phone (assistance in NRW)
  • you may contact an equal opportunity institution (to reach via the city council)
  • you may contact an intercultural office (to reach via the city council)
  • you may contact an intercultural counselling centre (assistance in NRW)

These offers of assistance are free of charge for you!


tl_files/zwangsheirat/images/klein/ueber_03.jpg

It is always a good thing, if you ask any teachers,(school-/)soial and/ or your friends for assistance. You will be able to make appointments together with them or have discussions while they are present. Be always reassured that those people you tell your problems, do not inform anybody about them and do not undertake any steps without your knowledge and/ or consent.

Basically, there is the possibility of contacting a lawyer, too. If you are in big distress or in emergency cases you may even contact the local police office. The police knows those institutions too, that can immediately organise some accommodation (custody) for you.

If you wish to get some further information about any laws, please see legal aspects on the pages for confidents.

In any case: You may always get some advice and support with the online counselling service for the protection against forced marriage. That’s our job!