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Forced Marriages

It is a growing concern for the Home Office as well as the UK Government where marriages are being forced for a number of reasons. First of all, you have a right to choose who you marry, when you wish to marry or whether you want to get married at all.

Those who are forced to marry someone they do not wish to be married to are mostly to take advantages of our immigration policy and this was one of the reasons why there was an increase of probationary periods.

What is a forced marriage & arranged marriage?

There are clear distinctions between both of them. Those who enter an arranged marriage do not fall into the definition of a forced marriage unless one party does not agree to the marriage but is told to marry that person.

In arrange marriages, the families or non-family members introduce a couple and discuss about the proposal. Both the bride and the groom, are then given the opportunity to meet, spend time and discuss whether they intend to get married or not.

In contrast, a forced marriage is either the bride or the groom does not agree to the marriage but they are forced into marriage which may include their parents, family members or non-family members. A forced marriage cannot be justified on any religious or cultural basis.

It is now a criminal offence to force a person to marry someone else and this is set out on the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. The law also extends to those who take someone overseas to force into a marriage, this is regardless of whether the marriage takes place or not. Further to this, it is also a criminal offence for marriage taking place if one person lacks mental capacity.

Current report suggests that forced marriages happen to people of all ages and gender. Whilst women are mostly victims of domestic violence & forced marriages, there has been a growing trend of men being victims of forced marriages as well as domestic violence in society. Due to social stigma, victims find it hard to discuss this and some matters go unreported.

Forced marriages are not simply a family matter and they are not private issues. It violates person human rights and breaks both domestic & international laws. Those who are involved in these processes fail to understand the impact it has to the person who is a victim and this leads to increase of suicidal death.

Forced Marriage Unit

The Forced Marriage Unit works jointly with the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), to first prevent forced marriages happening and support victims & family members if a forced marriage does happen. They will provide you with support as well as strategies to prevent a force marriage to happen.

If you are a victim or know that someone may be a victim of forced marriage, please use the following contact details:

  1. Email to fmu@fco.gov.uk.

  2. Telephone contact 020 7008 0151.

  3. From overseas +44 (0)20 7008 0151.

They are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and there are out of hours support by calling the Global Response Centre on 020 7008 1500. Where you find yourself in immediate danger, please contact the police on 999.

Forced Marriage Protection Order

An application can be lodged to protect you or someone else who is being threatened with forced marriage or you are in a forced marriage. This legal protection is designed to stop someone being taken out of the UK.

As part of this protection order application, there will be a requirement for you to make a legal submission including a witness statement to support the claim. Further evidences may be required depending on your circumstances.

Emergency Protection Order

When an application for an emergency order (an ‘ex-parte’ or ‘without notice’ order) are made, it provides an immediate protection. It protects you from releasing any information to any other parties.

As part of the submission, there will be a requirement for you to explain what has happened, there are reasons for the forced marriage protection order is being made and the reasons why the court should not notify the other parties.

Taking advice from ICS Legal

ICS Legal cannot advise you on the above matters, however where your matter may be related to your immigration status or the person you are forced into a marriage will require a visa, you can speak to us and discuss about how we can submit a representation to the Home Office for the matter.

We have been part of the changes and will continue to be part of this, as we continue to support our Clients. You can contact us on 0207 237 3388 to get more information on how we can help you or simply, send us an email to info@icslegal.com.

 

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