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Forced marriage victims in Bedfordshire urged to come forward and seek support

BEDFORDSHIRE police is calling for victims of forced marriage within the county to seek support as part of its 16 days of action against domestic abuse.

 Around 8,000 to 10,000 forced marriages occur each year within the UK and it remains grossly under-reported.

Last year Bedfordshire Police had 149 reports of honour based abuse or forced marriage, but officers say they know this figure doesn’t paint the real picture and this crime remains hidden for too long. The law to criminalise forced marriage was passed last year and Britain’s first successful forced marriage prosecution happened in June.

Forced marriage protection orders help in disrupting a family’s intention to marry their children off against their will. Police work closely with social services for young people where forced marriage or honour based abuse is an issue to ensure the safeguarding of the child and their siblings, as well as protect them from crime.

Detective Sergeant Elaine Cook, lead for the honour based abuse team at Bedfordshire Police, said: “The safeguarding of those subject to this brutality is a priority for Bedfordshire Police. The introduction of forced marriage protection orders has seen an impact in girls having the confidence to speak out and families being aware that this protection is available.

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