The introduction of new legislation to protect victims of forced marriages has been welcomed by charities campaigning to eradicate the practice. Under the new laws individuals and the Police can apply for a Forced Marriage Protection Order which prevents families from seizing passports or intimidating victims into travelling abroad. In addition, the Order could force families to reveal a missing victim's whereabouts to Police.
Kelly Kaur, who runs the Throughcare Housing and Support charity, has been working with victims of domestic violence and forced marriage for more than a decade. Like other veteran campaigners, she welcomed the government's new initiative, which threatens those responsible for forced marriages with prison sentences of up to two years.
She said: "It is completely unacceptable in this day and age for the continuation of ancient cultural practices that ignore the human rights of individuals. The new legislation is a great leap forward in tackling the issues that we deal with every day. Hopefully, it will now become easier to protect vulnerable individuals from the emotional and physical abuse that goes hand-in-hand with forced marriages."
Justice minister Bridget Prentice said: "This new law is a powerful tool that will help ensure that no-one is forced into marriage against their will and those already in such marriages will receive protection."
However, Mrs. Kaur had some reservations: "This is a huge victory for our campaign. However, we know that our work will have to continue for the foreseeable future. It could be many years before we succeed in stigmatising forced marriage within the many different communities where it is practiced."
Further details are available at www.throughcare.com or by calling Throughcare on 0121 554 3920.