A forced marriage is legally defined as one in which one or both spouses do not consent to the marriage, and violence, threats or any other form of coercion is involved.
The Home Secretary’s position is that forced marriage remains a hidden crime because victims stay silent, fearing isolation or worse from their family, culture and community. It is recognised that frontline professionals such as Doctors, Teachers, Nurses and Social Workers may come across the signs of forced marriage first and therefore, have been identified by the Home Office as being crucial to combatting crime.
The Home Office have now issued a consultation paper (15 November 2018) which seeks views on whether a mandatory reporting duty for frontline professionals, to report forced marriages, should be introduced.
The document proposes the following consequences for failing to comply with the requirements to report:
The Home Office’s position is that criminalising failures to comply and report would result in a higher number of prosecutions of this “hidden crime”. Critics have commented that the aforementioned proposals are an attempt by the Home Office to shift and abrogate responsibility to already over worked hardworking professionals.CRIME PAGE