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New Legislation Makes Forced Marriage A Criminal Offence

Maximum Penalty Of Seven Years Imprisonment Introduced


The Government has introduced new legislation today (June 16th) which has formally made marrying someone against their will a criminal offence.

Designed primarily to help people in England and Wales, the law also applies to UK nationals overseas who could be at risk of becoming a victim of forced marriage.

The maximum penalty for the new offence of forced marriage – defined by the Government as a marriage which may involve physical, psychological, emotional, financial or sexual abuse – is seven years in prison.

Law enforcement agencies will also be able to pursue those suspected of such offences in other countries, where a UK national may be involved.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, described forced marriage as “a tragedy for each and every victim” and added: “Today’s criminalisation is a further move by this government to ensure victims are protected by the law and that they have the confidence, safety and the freedom to choose.”

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