Refuge responds to Government announcement on criminalisation of forced marriage

The government has announced plans to make forcing someone to marry a criminal offence


Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of national domestic violence charity Refuge, said:

 “Forcing someone to marry is a serious form of abuse; victims are often threatened, intimidated, kidnapped, beaten, raped and even killed for non-compliance. I am pleased to hear that the Government intends to make it a criminal offence. Refuge recognises that criminalising forced marriage may discourage some victims from reporting their experience to the police. However, under-reporting is already a significant problem, and I am very worried that by maintaining the status quo we as a society are minimising the seriousness of this behaviour and tacitly allowing it to continue. It is crucial that perpetrators of this heinous act understand that forcing someone to marry is unacceptable, and that victims are able to speak out and safely access support.”