Forced marriage is a violation of human rights and is contrary to UK law, including the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 , which states that a marriage shall be voidable if: “either party to the marriage did not validly consent to it, whether in consequence to duress, mistake, unsoundness of mind or otherwise”
The Definition of Forced Marriage
When one or more parties do not consent to the marriage or consent is obtained using duress.
The aim of the order is to protect both adults and children who have been, or are being forced into marriage against their wishes.
The court can make an order in an emergency so that protection is in place straightaway that prevents any action that someone might take to force you in to marriage.
Forced Marriage Protection Orders were introduced in 2008 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland under the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007.
A Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO) can protect you whether you are being forced into marriage or you are already in a forced marriage.
The court can also add a power of arrest, when violence is threatened or used. This will help the police arrest a person who does not obey a court order that has a power of arrest attached.
If the person the order is made against disobeys it they can be prosecuted for breach of a court order and sentenced for up to two years.
Forced Marriage Protection Orders (FMPO) have been used:
To prevent a forced marriage from occurring
To stop intimidation and violence
To reveal the whereabouts of a person
To stop someone from being taken abroad
To hand over passports
An estimated 8,000 young women a year are forced into marriages.
After a 12-week consultation which took views form the public, victims, charities and frontline agencies the majority of people agreed that forcing someone to marry should be a criminal offence. Criminalisation aims to send out a strong public message that forced marriage is socially and legally criminal in act and in the intention. This in turn, we hope, will eventually help to create a change in people’s attitudes and beliefs towards forced marriage.
Alongside a legal framework, the proper support, prevention, education and enforcement is also required.