Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act

Under the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act, where a forced marriage has or is about to take place, courts will be able to make orders to protect the victim or the potential victim and help remove them from that situation.

Courts will be able to order people to hand over passports, reveal the whereabouts of a person thought to be at risk and stop someone from being taken abroad. Anyone failing to comply with an order could face jail. Under the legislation, a victim, friend or the police can apply to court for an order.

The courts are also able to attach powers of arrest to orders so that if someone breaches an order they can be arrested and brought back to the original court to consider the alleged breach of the order.

What the British Government says:

"There is already plenty of criminal law to tackle murder, kidnapping, abduction, rape and all the other evil manifestations associated with forcing people into marriage against their will," said Lord Lester, who introduced the Forced Marriage Bill which led to the 2008 Act.

In June 2008, the Prime Minister David Cameron announced that forcing someone to marry will become a criminal offence in England and Wales. Mr Cameron said: “Forced marriage is abhorrent and little more than slavery. To force anyone into marriage against their will is simply wrong and that is why we have taken decisive action to make it illegal.”

Planned criminalisation:

In June 2012 the Government announced that a specific criminal offence covering FMs will be introduced in 2013/2014. However, victims will be able to choose whether they want to obtain a FMPO and/or pursue a criminal prosecution.

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