Previously, forced marriage was only found to be an offence if there was thought to be threats or coercion to enter the marriage. Now, anyone found guilty of arranging child marriages can face sentences of up to 7 years in prison.
In 2021, the government’s Forced Marriage Unit provided support in 118 cases that involved victims under 18 years old. The courts have also issued 3,343 Forced Marriage Protection Orders between 2008 and 2022, which prevents someone from using threats, violence, or abuse as a way of forcing someone into marriage.
Forced marriages can cause significant lasting damage to a child and it is hoped that the change in the law will prevent this from happening.