Forced marriages outlawed in 'huge step forward'

A new law outlawing forced marriages comes into effect today in England and Wales. The offence will carry a maximum seven year jail sentence under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

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Forced marriage 'nothing to do with your decisions'

A woman who was faced with the prospect of a forced marriage has described her terror at not being able to chose her partner to Good Morning Britain.

The woman, who asked to be kept anonymous, said she was forced to take money in an envelope from his family, who asked about her education and whether she could drive.

She explained: "Most of all, you are putting yourself in an unknown position which is always going to be full of fear and danger. In an arranged marriage you are given choice, while a forced marriage is nothing to do with your decisions."

Theresa May: Forced marriage 'cruel and unacceptable'

The Home Secretary has described forced marriage as "cruel and unacceptable" and said new laws will which come into effect today show the practice "will not be tolerated" in the UK.

In an exclusive blog for Good Morning Britain, Theresa May said laws were needed because the "scale of the problem is staggering".

We want to send a clear message that forced marriage is cruel and unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

The individual stories are heart-rending. In one tragic recent case, a 17 year woman was taken to Turkey – she thought she was going on holiday, but instead she was forced to marry.

She was a bright, ambitious young woman who planned to go to university to study law. But suddenly her life had become a total nightmare. The marriage was horrifying, with sexual, mental and physical abuse.

– Theresa May


NSPCC: New forced marriage law 'a huge step forward'

The NSPCC has described the criminalisation of forced marriage as "a huge step forward which we hope will deter those plotting against their own children".

Many young people who call our ChildLine service about this issue are frightened, concerned and feel control of their lives is being wrenched from them.

We have produced an animation that will help allay their fears and encourage them to contact us for help and advice.

– Dr Ash Chand, the charity's strategy head for minority ethnic children

Law criminalising forced marriage comes into effect

Forcing someone into a marriage in England and Wales will carry a maximum seven-year jail sentence from today.

The Government hopes the law change, which also criminalises forcing a British national into marriage outside the UK, will protect thousands of potential victims.

Home Secretary Theresa May has described forced marriage as "a tragedy for each and every victim". Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Home Secretary Theresa May said she was "proud" of the UK's leading role in combating the crime.

"I am proud to say that the UK is already a world-leader in the fight to stamp out this harmful practice with the Government's Forced Marriage Unit working hard to tackle this terrible practice in the UK and overseas," she said.

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