law will help protect thousands of potential victims.
Forcing someone to marry against their will is now a
legislation introduced recetly (16 June) by the government is designed to help
people in England and Wales. It also applies to UK nationals overseas who are
at risk of becoming the victim of a forced marriage.
Forced marriage can involve physical, psychological,
emotional, financial and sexual abuse including being held unlawfully captive,
assaulted and raped.
2013, the government’s Forced Marriage Unit gave advice or support
related to a possible forced marriage to more than 1300
Maximum penalty of seven years
maximum penalty for the new offence of forced marriage is seven years
enforcement agencies will also be able to pursue perpetrators in other
countries where a UK national is involved under new powers defined in
Home Secretary Theresa May said:
Forced marriage is a tragedy for each and every victim,
and its very nature means that many cases go unreported.
am proud to say that the UK is already a world-leader in the fight to stamp out
this harmful practice with the government’s Forced Marriage Unit working
hard to tackle this terrible practice in the UK and overseas.
Today’s criminalisation is a further move by this
government to ensure victims are protected by the law and that they have the
confidence, safety and the freedom to choose.
This summer, the Prime Minister will also be hosting the
UK’s first summit dedicated to galvanising action against forced marriage
and related issues.
new legislation also makes forcing a UK national into marriage outside the UK
an offence under domestic law for the first time. The offence is triable in
courts in England and Wales.
new criminal offences will work alongside existing civil legislation (Forced
Marriage Protection Orders - FMPOs) allowing victims to pursue a civil or
Speedier and more effective
FMPOs can already be made by a civil court against any
individuals suspected of trying to force a victim into marriage. As of recently
the breach of a FMPO is a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of five years
imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
This will strengthen the existing law by enabling
speedier and more effective enforcement action against those who breach the
terms of an order.
will still be possible for victims to seek enforcement for breach of a forced
marriage protection order by way of the civil court’s contempt powers as
an alternative to reporting the breach to the police.
Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker
Forced marriage is an appalling form of abuse which
crosses borders and cultural boundaries. The scale of reported cases is deeply
worrying, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Legislation is the next key step in solving this problem
and builds on the hard work already being done by the government and third
sector organisations to tackle this practice.
message from the coalition government is clear - forced marriage is totally
unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
Aneeta Prem, founder of Freedom charity,
which exists to educate young people about forced marriage,
am delighted that the government has taken action to criminalise forced
the most tragic cases, people forced into marriage become domestic slaves by
day and sexual slaves by night.
Today’s announcement sends out a powerful message
that this indefensible abuse of human rights will be not be
Everyone should have the freedom to
Ash Chand, the NSPCC’s strategy head for minority ethnic children
change in the law to make forced marriage a crime in England and Wales is a
huge step forward which we hope will deter those plotting against their own
Many young people who call our ChildLine service about
this issue are frightened, concerned and feel control of their lives is being
wrenched from them.
have produced an animation that will help allay their fears and encourage them
to contact us for help and advice.