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First anniversary of law criminalising forced marriage

The Minister for Preventing Abuse and Exploitation has marked the first anniversary of the criminalisation of forced marriage.

A year ago today, forcing someone to marry against their will became a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment. The law, designed to help people in England and Wales but also UK nationals overseas, was part of a move to protect against the devastating effects of forced marriage which can involve physical, psychological, emotional, financial and sexual abuse including being held unlawfully captive, assaulted and raped.

This month saw the first conviction under the new legislation and the government has announced their intention to continue to work alongside police and the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice. Minister for Preventing Abuse and Exploitation Karen Bradley said, “We made forced marriage a crime to better protect victims and send a clear message that this brutal practice is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the UK. We also hope that criminalisation will act as a deterrent.

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