Scotland implements law against forced marriages


Scotland has implemented a new law which protects people from being married against their will.

The news will be welcomed by victims of forced marriages as they will have greater help and protection from the law.

The new legislation, which came into effect today, gives courts the power to issue protection orders to those at risk and breach of such orders could result in a two-year prison sentence.

People at risk or anyone worried about someone's welfare, including local authorities, can apply for a protection order. The courts will also be able to issue an order if a person at risk is involved in other proceedings and the court thinks that it should be made to protect them.

Scotland's decision to consider forced marriages as a crime may see campaigners south of the border urge the government to implement similar legislation in England.

There is no suggestion that this will happen though last month, Prime Minister David Cameron said that there would be consultation to criminalise forced marriages in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The move by the Scottish government has been welcomed by campaign groups.

Smina Akhtar, director of Amina, the Muslim Women's Resource Centre in Glasgow, said,

"This law will mean that victims of forced marriage will no longer be alone and have to suffer in silence."

She added,

"By passing this law the Scottish government has given a voice to a silent minority and a lifeline to many young people who until now have had nowhere to turn for help and support."

Scotland's Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said people should have the right to enter into marriage or a civil partnership "freely without coercion".

She added,

"The introduction of this legislation will help us ensure that forced marriage has no place in 21st Century Scotland, by providing flexible legal support to allow victims to get their lives back on track."

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Well done Scotland

Isn't it about time England did the same? Come on England!