Bride Abandonment

Bride abandonment happens when husbands deliberately abandon their brides some time after the marriage, leaving them at risk of poverty, violence, exploitation, destitution and social stigma.

Bride abandonment often takes place in transnational marriages. For example:

  • A British national or resident flies to Bangladesh to marry a woman living in Bangladesh. Some time after the marriage, the husband returns to the UK alone, leaving his wife in Bangladesh. If they have had a child then the woman may either be separated from the child, or abandoned with the child in a situation of near destitution. 
  • A British national or resident flies to Somalia, marries a woman in Somalia and they both come back to the UK together to live with the husband’s family. After some time, the husband moves to a different city, or even country, abandoning his wife with his family in a situation of domestic servitude.

The above are just examples; each situation will be different and there is no ‘one way’ that bride abandonment takes place. In all instances, bride abandonment can have drastic impacts on a woman’s wellbeing, financial status, reputation and future life prospects. 

Whilst there is no legally recognised definition of bride abandonment, specialist services recognise that it is a form of domestic abuse and have campaigned for changes to the law.

In our workshop, delegates will have the opportunity to explore why bride abandonment takes place, the current barriers for women in getting support and how professionals and services can help in prevention and supporting women who are experiencing this form of abuse. The workshop is 90 minutes and can be run in person or online. Please contact us to book your session.


Specialist support services who can advise on bride abandonment:

Southall Black Sisters – (can provide emergency support to women on return to the UK). You can call their helpline on 020 8571 9595 between 9am and 5pm Monday – Friday, or email 

Muslim Women’s Network – you can call their helpline on 0800 999 5786 between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday, email, text 07415 206 936, or web chat via their website:

Karma Nirvana – you can call their helpline on 0800 5999 247 between 9am and 5pm Monday – Friday

Rights of Women (legal advice)- you can call the following helplines depending on your needs, and an interpretation service is also available:

  • Family Law Advice (Tuesday-Thursday 7-9pm, Friday 12-2pm)- 020 7251 6577
  • Criminal Law Advice (Tuesday 10am-12, Thursday 7-9pm)- 020 7251 8887
  • Immigration and Asylum Law Advice (Monday and Thursday 10-12 and 2-4pm)- 020 7490 7689


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