On 8th March the Bishop of St Albans received written answers to two questions on forced marriage:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people were (1) charged, and (2) convicted, with (a) forcing someone to marry, and (b) breaching a forced marriage protection order, under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, in (i) 2016, (ii) 2017, (iii) 2018, (iv) 2019, and (v) 2020. [HL13499]
Baroness Williams of Trafford: The Home office does not hold information on the number of people that were charged with forced marriage offences or breaching a forced marriage protection order. The number of convictions for forced marriage offences is held by the Ministry of Justice. The number of convictions for offences relating to forced marriage and breaching forced marriage protection orders for calendar years 2016-2019 can be found in the table below.
|36.1 Forced marriage
|66.6 Breach of a forced marriage protection order
Data for 2020 is due to be published in May 2021.
The figures given in the table relate to defendants for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 in dealing with the issue of forced marriage. [HL13500]
Baroness Williams of Trafford: The UK is a worldleader in the fight to end the practice of forced marriage, with our dedicated Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) leading efforts to combat it both at home and abroad.
The Government made forced marriage a criminal offence under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to better protect victims and send a clear message that this practice is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the UK. That Act also makes it a criminal offence to breach a Forced Marriage Protection Order, and provides anonymity for victims of forced marriage. Those provisions sit as part of the Government’s wider approach to tackling forced marriage.
We are committed to ensuring that professionals understand that forced marriage is a criminal offence and have the training and guidance they need to provide effective advice and support on this issue. The Government has published statutory multi-agency guidance and made available free e-learning to help professionals to recognise the warning signs and ensure that the right action is taken to help protect those at risk. The FMU also provides regular training on forced marriage to police officers and social workers.
In 2019 the FMU provided advice or support in 1,355 cases related to a possible forced marriage. Over 2,600 Forced Marriage Protection Orders have also been issued since they were introduced.