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Forced marriage to be made illegal under new strategy

Ireland will introduce a specific offence of forced marriage as part of the Government’s new strategy for domestic, sexual and gender-based violence, it has been announced.

The issue of forced marriage is not currently dealt with directly by Irish law but the proposed offence category, which may become active by the end of next year, will target the “intentional conduct of luring an adult or a child . . . with the purpose of forcing [them] to enter into a marriage”.

The strategy further clarifies that any new offence of luring a person abroad for a forced marriage “would need to be indictable”. The Department of Justice has already announced plans to abolish exemptions for underage marriages, which is expected to have the additional benefit of protecting minors against forced marriage. The move comes after the UK introduced laws for cases of forced marriage 18 months ago.

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