Forced Marriage to Become a Criminal Offence

In family law Forced Marriage Protection Orders (FMPO) have been a tool to protect victims of, or those threatened with forced marriage, for 7 years thanks to the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007. Breach of the order was previously a contempt of court punishable with a fine or custodial sentence by the family courts. Between 2007 and 2012 there were only 5 recorded breaches of FMPOs and only one occasion was the perpetrator been given a custodial sentence. However it was felt there needed to be a change.

After a 12 week consultation with the public it was announced in June 2012 that there would be a specific criminal offence created dedicated to providing victims with protection from forced marriages.

The new law came into practice on 16th June 2014. Under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 forcing someone to marry is now punishable by up to seven years in prison. Victims can choose whether to take civil action, through a FMPO application, rather than criminal action, which allows the victim to be in control of the way the situation is handled in order to safeguard the victim as much as possible.

If you require protection because you have been threatened with, or have been the victim of a forced marriage, Emery Johnson Astills’ Family Department can help you secure protection for yourself.

If you are arrested for a criminal offence generally or in relation to forcing or attempting to force someone to marry, Emery Johnson Astills Criminal Department can provide advice and assistance from the police station through the Court process.  Contact us on 0116 255 4855.