Women’s groups in Scotland have claimed that criminalisation of forced marriage in Scotland hindered rather than helped efforts to help victims.
The practice, associated with certain cultures, was outlawed north of the border in September 2014, three months after similar legislation appeared in England and Wales. Convictions have followed in England but not in Scotland, the Herald newspaper reports, and not a single individual has been charged. In addition, there has been a drop in the number of victims seeking help since the legislation was enacted – in the case of one group, from 24 referrals in a year to just ten. Victims often tell support groups that they do not wish to get their families into trouble with the police.
Scottish Women’s Aid have now called on Holyrood to reconsider its approach to the issue. Chief Executive Dr Marsha Scott said: