Forced marriage should not be tolerated. We should all be free to choose a spouse and no one should be coerced into marrying someone against their consent.
We agree the safeguarding response to this crime could be strengthened to improve protection for people who are at risk and unable to protect themselves, ensure perpetrators are brought to justice and help to prevent forced marriage from occurring in the first place.
- We are supportive of the Government updating current guidance on forced marriage and would be happy to work with officials on this. The guidance should refer to safeguarding adults with care and support needs, in line with current safeguarding policy. It would be useful for the guidance to clarify the relationship and distinctions between forced marriage and honour-based violence.
- We welcome the support provided by the Forced Marriage Unit to victims of forced marriage. This support should be available for victims of Forced Marriage who are sent away from the UK to marry and return to the UK when they are 16. It would be helpful for the issue of forced marriage to be addressed.
- Cross-departmental collaboration is key. For example, we would like to see the wider contextual safeguarding work, which the Home Office is leading on, to be fully aligned with all other child protection and safeguarding adults’ arrangements. This should be considered by the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care, so that risks are not looked at in isolation from each other.