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Forced marriages finally outlawed in England and Wales

The change results from the introduction of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. This is welcomed legislation for women’s rights campaigners who have seen an increase in recent years with this form of abuse.
Most commonly forced marriage occurs within families and it is very difficult for victims to come forward in those circumstances. In most situations the victims, some of which are children, don’t even know they are victims of forced marriage until it is too late.
It is hoped that the change in law will give victims the confidence that immediate action can be taken to protect them from this abuse.
Reporting the crime is the first step and the government is keen to emphasise that children will not be forced by police to prosecute their parents and families. The law will apply to any UK National who is taken abroad to marry against their will as well as anyone forced into marriage in England and Wales.
If you believe you are in danger of being forced to marry against your will you should contact a solicitor urgently for advice. Legal Aid is available to cover proceedings to protect you from this abuse and it is possible to request a court hearing without giving notice to your parents or families to seek a forced marriage protection order.
In addition, breaching a forced marriage protection order has also been criminalised and carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
You can speak to a member of our Family Law team in complete confidence – call 01302 320621

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