Advice On Honour Based Violence & Forced Marriages
- AuthorChristine Smith
Over recent years, law firms have seen an influx of clients seeking advice and assistance regarding honour based violence and forced marriages.
You may have seen documentaries on TV which show the devastating effect that these particular crimes have upon the victim and the victims children. There will be lots of pain, both physical and emotional and lots of tears. It can also lead to the death of the victim and sadly also sometimes the children.
Honour Based Violence
Honour Based Violence (“HBV”) is an umbrella term to encompass various offences which can be described as a collection of practices which are used to control behaviour within families or other social groups to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour. Such violence can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code.
HBV is a violation of human rights and may be a form of domestic and/or sexual violence. HBV is a criminal offence and the Crown Prosecution Service is fully committed to prosecuting fairly and effectively all those who harm others in the name of “honour”.
A Non-Molestation Order is a civil remedy to protect a victim from HBV. A breach of a Non-Molestation Order is a criminal offence.
A forced marriage (FM) is a marriage conducted without the valid consent of one or both parties and where duress is a factor. FM is a specific criminal offence under S121 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
A Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO) is a civil remedy. This Order offers protection to a victim from all civil or religious ceremonies, by forbidding a person or persons to force the victim into an engagement or marriage. A FMPO may contain prohibitions, restrictions or requirements and any such terms as the court considers appropriate. An application for a FMPO, can be made by a victim, a person obtaining the courts permission to apply for an order on behalf of the victim, a relevant third party or by the Court of its own volition.
Breach of a FMPO is a criminal offence. The penalty for breaching a Non-Molestation Order or FMPO – is a fine or imprisonment. Furthermore, if a victim does not want to pursue criminal proceedings, an application can be made to the Civil Courts to enforce the Order.
Our Domestic Violence Team across our offices has a sympathetic ear and many years of experience. We can provide you with legal advice, support you through the Court process and we can sign post you to Support Groups in our local area. We are very proud to work with local charities that support victims of domestic abuse, including My Sisters Place, Harbour and the Halo Project. Please get in touch for an informal appointment if you or any family members or friends have fallen victim to these terrible crimes.
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