Justice Minister Bridget Prentice is urging more practitioners to respond the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 consultation which closes tomorrow.
Speaking at the Ethnic Minority Foundation Seminar in London, Bridget Prentice said:
"Forced marriage is something that should not happen. Yet it does happen and we must all work hard to stop it."
"The Forced Marriage Act will provide protection for those at risk of forced marriage and will become a powerful tool for those trying to protect victims of forced marriage."
"Responses to our earlier consultation has told us that if forced marriage was criminalised it could be driven underground by the victims refusal to co-operate with the police."
"The Act offers civil remedies to those seeking protection, by enabling them to apply for a Forced Marriage Protection Order which allows the court to order the behaviour or conduct of those responsible to change or stop, or to impose requirements on them."
"As part of the process of bringing the Act into force, we are exploring how the Act should work in practice. One important aspect is how to enable orders to be made in circumstances when victims feel unable or unwilling to make an application themselves."
"This is why the current consultation on third party applications is so important."
She urged people to respond to the consultation about third party applications which considers who should be allowed to apply to courts for a Forced Marriage Protection Order on behalf of a victim who may be unable or afraid to go to court.
The consultation closing date is 14 March 2008 and can be found on the Ministry of Justice's website: http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/cp3107.htm.