Forced marriage is defined by the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 as to be coerced "by threats or other psychological means" into a marriage that is against one's own personal wishes. Furthermore, the Home Office defines forced marriage as one that is "conducted without the valid consent of both parties where duress (emotional pressure in addition to physical abuse) is a factor".
There are several organisations, including the United Nations, which recognise forced marriage to be an abuse of human rights, an act of domestic violence and, in cases involving children, child abuse.
Forced Marriage Protection Orders
Courts have the power to make a Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO) to intervene in cases where a person is being pressured into a forced marriage or has already been forced into a marriage against their wishes.
Furthermore, although being in breach of a FMPO does not necessarily constitute a crime, a breach of an order is considered contempt of court and the transgressing party can be arrested. They may even face a custodial sentence.
Several parties have the ability to apply for an FMPO, these include forced marriage solicitors on behalf of a victim, organisations operating on behalf of the government, local authorities, domestic violence support groups and the NSPCC. In some circumstances, friends or relatives may be able to apply providing they have permission from the court.
Orders may relate to those arranging the forced marriage as well as those seen to be aiding or abetting the crime.
Forced marriage solicitors
The member solicitors featured in this section on Oratto can help you obtain a forced marriage protection order to protect you or someone you know from being forced into a marriage against their wishes. An FMPO can order a number of things, including the following:
- Restrictions on travel abroad
- The surrender of passports and other important documents
- The cessation of intimidation, harassment or violence
- The cessation of contact with the person being forced into a marriage
Legal aid is available to those facing forced marriage. Search through the profiles of Oratto's forced marriage solicitors today to find the specialist who can help you protect your full rights under UK law.
Alternatively, try our matching service so that we can suggest a solicitor whom we feel can best advise you in your particular legal need.