Law aims to ban forced marriage
Dec 14, 2010 No Comments
The majority of Scots want to see greater protection given to victims of forced marriage, according to a Scottish Government survey.
Speaking at today’s Equal Opportunities Committee meeting, Alex Neil, the Housing and Communities Minister, said a Bill currently going through the Scottish Parliament will help tackle forced marriage.
According to an online survey, 70 per cent of respondents said they want to see further protection given to those at risk. Nearly one in three also said they knew someone impacted by the practice.
The Forced Marriage Bill will enable courts to issue protection orders for victims. Those at risk, or anyone worried about someone’s welfare, would be able to apply for an order, which could ensure people were taken to a place of safety or help would be given to those in danger of being taken abroad for marriage.
Breaching the civil orders could lead to a prison sentence of up to two years, as well as a fine. Existing powers to annul a forced marriage will also be reformed to make the process easier.
Giving evidence to the committee today, Neil said: “Forcing someone into marriage is a brutal process – sadly we know people who refuse are often subjected to abuse, assault, captivity or even worse.
“This is a serious abuse of human rights and has no place in 21st century Scotland.
“Our new Forced Marriage Bill will help ensure vulnerable people get the help they need based on their own personal circumstances.
“And in Scotland we are leading the way in ensuring that anyone who flouts a victim’s legal protection order – and anyone aiding or abetting them – will feel the full force of the law.
“It is important that we do all we can to encourage victims to come forward and that they are confident they will receive safe, swift and effective protection that will help them get their lives back on track.”
To read more about the Bill in this fortnight’s issue of Holyrood, please click here.