The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 made it a criminal offence to force one or more people to marry against their will. Despite this, forced marriage is still an issue in the UK, which was highlighted in 2016, when the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) gave advice or support in no less than 1,428 cases.
By definition, a forced marriage is a serious abuse of human rights and includes any by which one or both parties do not (or, in the case of people with learning difficulties or disabilities, cannot) consent to the union, and is coerced into agreeing.
The methods of coercion are recognised in the UK as a form of violence and can include:
In 2008, Forced Marriage Protection Orders were introduced in England, Wales and Northern Ireland under the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007. The aim of these orders is to protect adults or children who are being forced into marriage or are already trapped in a forced marriage against their will.
If violence has been used or indeed threatened, the court can add a power of arrest to the protection order, which will help to ensure any person who disobeys the order is arrested and prosecuted. Many orders are made without notice, the court may accept an undertaking from those served with orders, an undertaking prohibiting any of the above mentioned abuse does not have a power of arrest. Due to the orders being made without notice the court must give the Respondent (person served with the order) an opportunity to make representations about any order made.
At Forbes, we understand how serious the matter of forced marriages still is across the UK, and our team of expert solicitors are here to help. To speak to our team about any aspect of forced marriage contact Forbes today on 0800 689 1058