New Legislation to Provide Anonymity for Forced Marriage Victims
In 2015, the Government's Forced Marriage Unit provided advice in 1,220 cases of possible forced marriage. Due to the insidious nature of forced marriage, it's expected that this figure is just the tip of the iceberg.
Amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill will ensure that victims of forced marriage in England and Wales will receive anonymity for life
- this follows a move last year that granted anonymity to victims of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Anonymity Will Help Others Speak Out
It's hoped that anonymity will ensure victims feel safer in speaking out, as Karen Bradley, the minister for preventing abuse, exploitation and crime, explained:"Forced marriage is an abhorrent practice that can destroy lives. This government will not allow political or cultural sensitivities to get in the way of tackling it. It takes great courage for those subjected to this crime to speak out, especially as it is often committed by the very people this love and trust, and we need to do all we can to give them the support they need. Lifelong anonymity will give more victims the confidence to come forward and seek justice."
Simpson Millar in Partnership with Welsh Forced Marriage Charity
Jenine Abdo is a Family Law Solicitor
based in Cardiff and specialises in supporting victims of FGM, forced marriage and domestic abuse. Jenine works closely with local charities and is soon joining the Welsh specialist BME community charity Bawso
to start offering legal advice clinics in July.
Jenine comments:"It's excellent to see that the government is taking another step forward in eliminating forced marriage by introducing anonymity. With cases of FGM and forced marriage it's usually the victim's closest families subjecting them to abuse – the main concerns for victims are what repercussions they will face for speaking out. Charities like Bawso are so important because they not only support victims with stopping the abuse; they help victims rebuild their lives afterwards."
Family Law Solicitors
Our family law team at Simpson Millar provides specialist advice on complex issues, including domestic violence, FGM and forced marriage
. We continue to take legal aid cases and should you be eligible the cost of your legal representation could be paid for you
. If you are a victim of forced marriage or you believe someone you know is at risk, you can contact the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) on 020 7008 0151 or find out more at the government forced marriage website.
To find out how we could help you please make a no-obligation enquiry or call freephone: 0808 129 3320.