The Prime Minister and the Home Secretary have just announced that forcing someone to marry is to become a criminal offence in England and Wales.
At present, the civil courts can make forced marriage orders to protect individuals from being forced into marriage or from any attempt to force them into marriage and provide protection to a victim of a forced marriage. This is usually done with the assistance of a specialist family law solicitor as detailed in our blog of 6/7/10. However, by criminalising forced marriage, it formally recognises that to force someone to marry without their consent is against the law and the perpetrator of such will be punished. It is hoped that this will also provide further support and protection to the victim and ultimately prevent forced marriages from happening in the future.
There has been much press coverage over recent months about "honour killings" which brings this issue to the forefront. There is a clear need for recognition that a forced marriage is an abuse of human rights which cannot be justified on cultural grounds. In our multi cultural society it is imperative that we do not shy away from what is clearly wrong and a greater understanding is needed.
Until such time as the as the offence is introduced, specialist family solicitors can advise on the current protective provisions that can be obtained from designated courts across the country, including Manchester.
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