A issues that has come to light in the past few years and reported by all News Channels (BBC, ITV, Sky News) etc.
The issue of Force Marriages, that has become a common practice within the UK and BAME community, where individuals or family members are forced into marriages without there consent or against there will.
Another factor for a “Forced Marriage” could be physical (including threats, actual physical violence and sexual violence), or emotional and psychological (for instance, when someone is made to feel they are bringing shame on their family). Financial Abuse (taking a person’s wages or denying the person money after marriage) can also be a factor.
Circa 2005, a Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) was set up between the Home Office and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, with the aim of providing support and advice to victims of forced marriage. In 2012, the FMU gave advice or support to possible forced marriages in 1,485 cases. Slightly fewer numbers were helped in the years 2013 and 2014 – see tabulation. However, only small numbers of persons have so far been prosecuted for this offence in England and Wales, in recent years only about 40+ a year, with a conviction rate of about 70%. Women made up about 10% of those prosecuted. (Ref: CPS, VAWG, Forced Marriage, Prosecutions by outcome, Tables 2, 3 and 6).
The FMU operates a public helpline to provide advice and support to victims of forced marriage as well as to professionals dealing with cases. The assistance provided ranges from simple safety advice, through to aiding victims to prevent their unwanted spouse moving to the UK (‘reluctant sponsor’ cases) , and, in extreme circumstances, to the rescue of victims held against their will overseas. The FMU undertakes an extensive outreach and training programme of about 100 events a year, targeting both professionals and potential victims, and media campaigns.
The highest cases of Forced Marriages in the UK are within the UK are in the London area.
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