Published On: Thu, May 29th, 2014 on 2:16 pm

Police raise awareness about new forced marriage laws

Forced Marriage

Posters and leaflets are being distributed to raise awareness

A major campaign has launched in West Yorkshire to raise awareness of force marriage, which will officially become a crime as of next month.

To raise awareness, West Yorkshire Police and partner agencies have come together to highlight that those found guilty of perpetrating forced marriage will face up to seven years imprisonment.

Statistics released by the West Yorkshire Police revealed that the majority of reports received have related to women or girls aged between 13 and 30, but victims were not exclusively female.

West Yorkshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable, John Robins, said: “Our campaign aims to raise awareness of the issues surrounding forced marriage, including the indicators of this crime and the potential consequences for perpetrators.

“We will be taking a ‘victim led approach’ in delivering the new Forced Marriage legislation. This will respect the views of victims, provide the necessary support, confidentiality and protection from harm.”

Distinctions are being made in the campaign between forced marriage, and arranged marriages that are legal and involve the consent of both spouses.

Radio advertisements have been broadcast with posters and leaflets also being released which emphasise the ‘right to choose’.

A roadshow led by the charity Karma Nirvana in partnership with the Home Office Forced Marriage Unit, has also been held in Leeds recently to raise awareness about the campaign and the need to support victims.

The new law on forced marriage will not apply to Northern Ireland, but ministers there will be able to introduce their own legislation, according to the Home Office. Forced marriage is already illegal in Scotland.

Anyone can report an offence or suspected offence in confidence and anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or direct to the police on the non-emergency number 101. For emergencies, please call 999.

About the Author

Hasan Faridi

- Hasan is the founder and editor-in chief of the Yorkshire Standard. A BA Hons graduate from the University of Huddersfield, he has over four years of experience in newspapers, magazines and radio.

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