The Forced Marriage Unit has released a new film to demonstrate the devastating impact of forced marriage on victims and their families.
Timed to coincide with the October half term - school holidays are always high risk period – the hard hitting film builds upon the Government’s world-leading work to tackle the issue at home and abroad.
The aim of the film is to raise public awareness of the impact of forced marriage, and warn of the criminal consequences of involvement, building on the outreach and education work of the FMU. Told from the perspective of a victim’s older brother, who is complicit in arranging her forced marriage but unaware of its true impact until it is too late, the film represents the first time the FMU have directly targeted family members.
Its release follows the launch of a new online training tool designed to help professionals recognise the warning signs of forced marriage and take the right action – at the right time - to help protect vulnerable children, young people, or adults at risk of forced marriage. The tool is free to use.
In a statement to mark the release of the film, Foreign Office Minister Grant Shapps said:
Forced marriage has no place in the UK. This film demonstrates the full horror of its impact, and our determination to stamp out this brutal practice once and for all - defending victims through full use of the law where necessary.
We are proud of the work of the FMU and the strong message we send to anyone forcing someone to marry against their will. There is a lot more work to be done, but we are determined to continue working with communities and organisations across the UK both to protect and support victims, but also to punish offenders.
Minister for Preventing Abuse and Exploitation Karen Bradley said:
Forced marriage is a brutal practice and the UK is a world-leader in the fight to stop it.
We made forced marriage a criminal offence to protect victims and be absolutely clear that these acts will not be tolerated. Our Forced Marriage Unit does brilliant work, helping those at risk and leading the efforts to combat forced marriage both at home and abroad.
But we know that legislation alone is not enough. We also need to work in other ways to prevent these dreadful cases from occurring and offer support to those who fear they may be forced into a life they do not want. I welcome this new video which will help raise awareness, send a strong message to perpetrators that forced marriage is a crime, and signpost the most vulnerable to support.
Last year the Forced Marriage Unit – run jointly by the FCO and Home Office– gave advice and support in 1,267 cases of possible forced marriages in over 88 different countries. More than a fifth of these involved male victims.
Notes to editors
Forcing someone to marry is a criminal offence in England and Wales. The legislation is part of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, and came into force on 16 June 2014.
The legislation criminalises the use of violence, threats, deception or any other form of coercion for the purpose of forcing a person into marriage or into leaving the UK with the intention of forcing that person to marry. There is a maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment for committing a forced marriage offence.
The FMU operates a public helpline (+44 (0) 20 7008 0151) giving advice and support to victims of forced marriage and professionals working with anyone who may be at risk. This ranges from simple safety advice, through to direct assistance, which in extreme circumstances can include rescuing victims held against their will overseas.
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