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Bullying and forced marriage to be targeted

13 Dec 2011

Liberal Democrat proposal published this week could have the effect that men who bully or psychologically abuse their wives could face criminal charges. The proposals, if implemented, could mean prosecution for those husbands who treat wives in a controlling way but whose actions do not constitute physical assault.

Meanwhile, forced marriages are to become a criminal offence under plans to be unveiled by Theresa May this week.

The public are to be asked their views on whether Forced Marriage should become a specific criminal offence following signals from the Government that it intends to strengthen protection for victims and ensure perpetrators are punished by criminalising the breach of Forced Marriage Protection Orders (FMPO).

The Home Secretary will launch a consultation as to the creation of a specific offence of forcing someone into a marriage against their will. It is reported that in 2010 as over 1,700 cases of possible forced marriage were dealt with by the Forced Marriage Unit.

Home Secretary Theresa May said:

‘Marriage should be one of the happiest events in a person’s life, but shockingly thousands of people a year are forced into marriage against their will. It is an appalling form of abuse and perceived cultural sensitivities should not stop us doing more to tackle it.

‘There are a wide range of strongly held views on making Forced Marriage a criminal offence and we want to hear from victims and those who work in this field before we come to a decision on the best way to protect vulnerable people.

‘But we are determined, working closely with charities and other organisations doing a tremendous amount in this area, to make Forced Marriage a thing of the past.’

Details of the Forced Marriage consultation can be found at www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/about-us/consultations/forced-marriage

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