Since the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 came into force on 25 November 2008, a Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO) has been issued in 86 cases. This compares with a predicted total for the first year of 50.
FMPOs were introduced to help prevent forced marriages from occurring or to offer protection to those individuals who have been forced into marriage. The conditions attached to an FMPO will depend on the circumstances of the individual case but can include an order to stop intimidation or to provide details of the whereabouts of a missing person and to return them to the UK or to surrender a passport to prevent someone being taken out of the country. Where there has been a true threat of physical violence, a power of arrest can be attached to an order. A person in contempt of an order may face up to two years’ imprisonment.
Commander Steve Allen, the Association of Chief Police Officers spokesperson on Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence says, “The new legislation has been one of the most important developments I have seen in this work. Not only does it provide us with a flexible means of protecting vulnerable people but it also sends a message in the clearest possible terms that such abuses are outside the boundaries of acceptable behaviour.”