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15 SEP 2011

Government rules out forced marriage crime

Forced MarriageHome Office minister Lynne Featherstone has told the BBC that the Government has no plans to criminalise forced marriage.  

Speaking to the BBC Asian Network, Ms Featherstone said: "In terms of criminalisation, that's not on the government's agenda.

"Yes there have been calls for it from a couple of quarters, but not overall and our judgement at this moment in time that would not be helpful.

"We are much more keen on protection, raising awareness and making sure that everyone who may be subjected to a forced marriage knows that they can be protected."

In May the Home Affairs Committee recommended that the government criminalise forced marriage while also maintaining the civil route.

In a report, the Committee criticised the lack of progress made by successive Government towards addressing the concerns raised by its predecessor Committee in 2008.

The recommendations were based on the belief that the criminalisation of forced marriage - which the Conservatives promised to consider while in Opposition - would send a stronger message against the practice.

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