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".
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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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.