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Today, 16 June 2014, sections 120 and 121 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, will come into force. Section 121 states that a person will commit an offence if he or she uses violence, threats or any other form of coercion for the purpose of causing another person to enter into a marriage, and believes, or ought reasonably to believe, that the conduct may cause the other person to enter into the marriage without free and full consent. Section 120 makes it an offence to breach a forced marriage protection order, which carries a maximum sentence of imprisonment for five years.
The provisions are regarded as controversial, with concerns being expressed that the prospect of an individual's family facing criminal charges would deter potential victims from reporting forced marriage.
For more information see Charlotte Rachael Proudman, 'The criminalisation of forced marriage' published in April  Fam Law 460.
The SI is available to download here.
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