We believe in promoting healthy relationships across the life course as it lays the foundation for a safe, fulfilling, and respectful relationships for individuals. Healthy relationships encompass not only physical aspects but also emotional, psychological, and social aspects of intimacy.

Healthy relationships contribute to overall mental well-being, boosting self-esteem and reducing the risk of mental health issues related to sexuality. ​By prioritising healthy relationships in Blackburn with Darwen we aim to promote and respect diversity and difference across our communities so each individual feels and safe and welcomed in our borough.

Forced Marriage

A forced marriage occurs when individuals, either the bride, groom, or both, are coerced into marriage against their will by others. This coercion can involve various tactics, including deception, physical threats, or emotional manipulation. Forced marriages can impact people of any gender, age, or background, whether they are women, men, girls, or boys, and may involve trickery, threats, or emotional blackmail to compel participation.

Forced marriage is fundamentally unjustifiable and cannot be supported by any religious or cultural beliefs. In the UK or abroad, coercing someone into marriage against their consent may constitute a violation of the law.

If you or someone you know is experiencing forced marriage, the following information may be helpful. It is advisable to gather important details such as National Insurance numbers, passport numbers, travel dates, and flight numbers, if applicable, and to entrust this information to a reliable person if possible.

It is essential to distinguish between forced marriage and arranged marriage. Unlike forced marriage, arranged marriage involves individuals consenting to marry a person chosen for them by their family. Arranged marriages do not involve coercion, threats, or intimidation, and the individuals have the freedom to accept or reject the proposed match.

Forced marriage overseas

If you suspect that you or someone you know is being taken out of the country for a forced marriage, it is important to locate the nearest embassy and keep their contact information with you at all times.

To do this contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Forced Marriage Unit on 020 70880151.

Help and advice is available at airports in the UK. Try to make an airport official aware that either you or someone known to you is being taken out of the country against their will.

If you are at an airport overseas try to bring the situation to the attention of an airport official. It is of the utmost importance that this is done as soon as possible, prior to immigration/entry clearance.

N.B. Airport officials are becoming increasingly aware of forced marriage. Any intervention will be carried out with the greatest discretion.

National charities

  • Karma Nirvan were the first specialist charity for victims and survivors on honour-based violence in the UK> Call UK helpline on 0800 5999 247 Karma Nirvana
  • Freedom are UK-based charity who give support to victims of forced marriage and violence and those who have thought to have brought dishonour on their family. Call helpline 0 845 607 0133 Alternatively you can text for help, text the words 4freedom: to 88802

Home – Freedom Charity

Domestic Abuse  

Domestic abuse and sexual violence can impact anyone, at any point in their life, regardless of their background, age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status or sexuality.

What does domestic abuse look like?

Are you experiencing any of the following behaviours from your partner, ex-partner, or someone you live with?

  • Are you deliberately cut off from family and friends, feeling intentionally isolated?
  • Do you face bullying, threats, or controlling behaviour?
  • Is control exerted over your finances?
  • Are your technology use and access monitored or restricted?
  • Have you experienced physical and/or sexual abuse?

Domestic abuse extends beyond physical violence and may also manifest in:

  • Coercive control and ‘gaslighting’
  • Economic exploitation
  • Online harassment
  • Threats and intimidation
  • Emotional manipulation
  • Sexual coercion

Signs indicating you may be experiencing domestic abuse include:

  • Withdrawal or isolation from family and friends
  • Physical indicators such as bruises, burns, or bite marks
  • Financial control or inadequate access to essential resources
  • Restrictions on leaving the house or pursuing education or employment
  • Surveillance of internet and social media activities, or invasion of privacy through reading texts, emails, or letters
  • Persistent belittlement or derogatory remarks
  • Pressure or coercion into unwanted sexual activity
  • Blame-shifting tactics, minimizing or dismissing your experiences

If you recognise these signs and believe you are a victim of domestic abuse, seeking support and assistance is crucial for your safety and well-being.

Honour Based Violence

Violence motivated by honour, known as Honor-Based Violence (HBV), encompasses a range of practices aimed at controlling behaviour within families to uphold perceived cultural and religious beliefs and honour. Perpetrators of HBV often perceive that a relative has brought shame upon the family or community by violating their honour code.

HBV includes various offenses such as murder, rape, assault, abduction, and domestic abuse.

HBV has been defined as any crime or incident committed or intended to protect or uphold the honour of the family and/or community.

While HBV predominantly affects women and girls, men can also be at risk. Men may face danger from the family of a woman they are perceived to have dishonoured, or from their own family if they are suspected of being homosexual.

Common triggers for HBV may include:

  • Rejecting an arranged marriage
  • Engaging in a relationship outside the approved social group
  • Loss of virginity before marriage
  • Pregnancy outside of wedlock
  • Spending time unsupervised by a family member
  • Reporting instances of domestic violence
  • Seeking divorce
  • Seeking custody of children after divorce
  • Refusing to comply with demands for divorce by family members

Accessing Safe Spaces in Blackburn with Darwen

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, it can be isolating and difficult to find support or think about your options.

UK SAYS NO MORE is working with pharmacies, banks and selected jobcentres across the UK to provide Safe Spaces in their consultation rooms for people experiencing domestic abuse.

Organisations providing Safe Spaces include; Boots, Morrisons pharmacies, Superdrug pharmacies, Well pharmacies, independent pharmacies, HSBC, TSB, The Co-operative Bank and selected Metro Banks.

You can use a safe space in whichever way works for you.

They provide a safe and discreet way to reach out to friends and family, and contact specialist support services. Safe Spaces are open and ready for you to use.

To find where our local safe spaces are in Blackburn with Darwen go to Safe Spaces Locations – UK SAYS NO MORE

Ask for ANI in Blackburn with Darwen

Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) is a codeword scheme that provides a safe, discreet and confidential way for victims of domestic abuse to access immediate help from their local pharmacy or jobcentre.

Ask for ANI is delivered in partnership with Safe Spaces, a safe and confidential room where victims can take some time to reflect, access information on specialist support services or call friends or family. Safe Spaces are available anywhere Ask for ANI is offered.

To find your space go to:  Ask for ANI postcode checker | ENOUGH

If You Are Worried About Another Person

If you are worried that a friend, neighbour or loved one is a victim of domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free and confidential advice, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247.

Seeking help for someone you know can be challenging but #YouAreNotalone. Domestic abuse advisers will offer confidential, non-judgemental information and advice on the options available to you helping you to keep safe and make informed choices.

If you believe there is an immediate risk of harm to someone, or it is an emergency, you should always call 999.

Get Help If You Think You Might Be An Abuser

If you are concerned about your behaviour or the behaviour of someone you know, there is support available.

The Respect Phoneline is an anonymous and confidential helpline for men and women who are abusing their partners and families. It is open Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm. The helpline also takes calls from partners or ex-partners, friends and relatives who are concerned about perpetrators.

A webchat service is available Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10am to 11am and from 3pm to 4pm Help For Domestic Violence Perpetrators | Respect Phoneline UK

Call:  0808 802 4040

Resources and Links

Local Services

The Wish Centre

The Wish Centre support people who have suffered or who are at risk of suffering domestic abuse, through the provision of support, advice and accommodation.

The Wish Centre work with victims and their families to secure the safety of those affected by domestic abuse and support their development so that everyone is helped to grow and fulfil their potential into the future.

The Wish Centre is often the first point of contact for people in Blackburn with Darwen who are experiencing domestic abuse. Fully qualified and specialist staff are available to discuss choices and options in a non-judgemental way, providing emotional and practical support including-

  • information on and access to safe refuge accommodation
  • access to outreach community service
  • access to IDVA, ISVA, YPVA service
  • Support for victims of Forced Marriage, Honour Based Abuse & Female Genital Mutilation
  • access to counselling
  • access to specialist courses for men and women
  • access to children’s therapeutic programmes 
  • appointments at the free legal surgery
  • signposting and information about other local agencies

Home | The Wish Centre

0300 561 0440


Humraaz Support Services is led by and for Black and Minoritised Women & Girls

Humraaz supports women survivors and their families affected by violence against women & girls including domestic and sexual abuse. Humraaz offer advice, advocacy and access to safe refuge to move from crisis to safety and independence.

Humraaz helps hundreds of women affected by violence against women & girls including domestic, honour based, sexual violence every year. We support women to move from crisis to safety and independence. We are culturally sensitive and understand the needs of diverse backgrounds.

Humraaz provide:

  • Refuge – a safe place to recover nurture and grow.
  • Community – a central hub to engage Black and Minoritised women and girls to upskill, connect and improve their wellbeing through participation in activities offered.
  • Professional – a peer support group for the development of professional Black and Minoritised women and girls through workshops, networking, mentoring and topical discussions.

You can contact Humraaz on 01254 695800 for confidential advice and more information.

Humraaz – A brighter future

LGBT Support Groups

Lancashire LGBT charity supports LGBTQ+ people across Lancashire.

They work with professionals and organisations seeking support and guidance on LGBTQ+ inclusive services and working environments.

If you are LGBTQ+ or want to speak to someone about gender or sexuality go to:


National Charities

  • Karma Nirvan were the first specialist charity for victims and survivors on honour-based violence in the UK> Call UK helpline on 0800 5999 247 Karma Nirvana
  • Freedom are UK-based charity who give support to victims of forced marriage and violence and those who have thought to have brought dishonour on their family. Call helpline 0 845 607 0133 Alternatively you can text for help, text the words 4freedom: to 88802

Home – Freedom Charity

Related Services