New laws to make forced marriage illegal
New laws are going to be introduced to make it a criminal offence to force someone into marriage [8 June 2012].
This means that parents who force their children to marry against their will could face jail.
The new laws will be introduced in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Currently Scotland already has in place laws regarding forced marriages.
Home Secretary Theresa May is due to outline the new laws, which will reportedly distinguish between forced marriages - where there is no consent - and arranged marriages.
8,000 victims each year
It is believed that up to 8,000 women are forced into marriage every year.
Campaigners have argued however that it may discourage some victims from coming forward who do not want members of their family to face criminal charges.
Aneeta Prem, Founder of Freedom, a charity that campaigns against forced marriages said: "Forced marriage is an indefensible abuse of human rights and can result in abduction, serial rape and murder.
"Criminalising forced marriage will send out a powerful message to people that this practice is unacceptable in England and will be dealt with severely."
Read more on the BBC News website
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