Forced Marriage Protection Orders
The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 was implemented on 25 November 2008, enabling a court to make a Forced Marriage Protection Order to protect someone who is facing being forced into a marriage or who is in a forced marriage. A forced marriage is a marriage that takes place without the full and free consent of both parties.
Anyone threatened with forced marriage or forced to marry against their will can apply for a Forced Marriage Protection Order. Third parties, such as relatives, friends, voluntary workers and police officers, can also apply for a protection order with the leave of the court.
Local authorities can seek a protection order for vulnerable adults and children without leave of the court.
Examples of the terms the court might order are:
- To prevent a forced marriage from occurring;
- To hand over passport or travel documents;
- To stop intimidation or violence;
- To reveal the whereabouts of a person;
- To stop someone from being taken abroad.
The court can attach a power of arrest to the order where violence or a threat of violence has been found. Breach of a Forced Marriage Protection Order is contempt of court and is punishable with up to two years imprisonment.
With effect from 16 June 2014, under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, breaching a Forced Marriage Protection Order is also a criminal offence which can result in a sentence of up to 5 years in prison.
Ministry of Justice website - Forced Marriage