On the 18th January, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, received written answers to questions about the incidence of forced and underage marriage in the UK and abroad.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government on how many cases the Forced Marriage Unit provided advice or support in (1) 2014, and (2) 2015.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to collect data on the number of underage girls who marry overseas and subsequently return to the UK.
Lord Bates: The UK is a world-leader in the fight to stamp out the brutal practice of forced marriage, with our Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) leading efforts to combat it both at home and abroad.
In 2014, the FMU gave advice or support related to a possible forced marriage in 1,267 cases. Of those cases, 11% involved victims below 16 years (where the age was known), and 77% involved an overseas element (meaning the victim was at risk of, or had been taken, overseas). To provide a further breakdown of this information would incur a disproportionate cost.
FMU data is published on an annual basis, and figures for 2015 are due for publication shortly.