Earlier this week, leading North East based law firm David Gray Solicitors LLP issued comment on the recent criminalisation of forced marriage, an act which marks a turning point for long-suffering victims who are subject to marriage without consent.

An estimated 8,000 women are forced or coerced into marriage each year; a number which it is hoped will be significantly reduced following its criminalisation in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. The issue of victims still trapped in such circumstances is one which can also begin to be addressed under the Act.

David Gray Solicitors said: “Forced marriage is a fundamental breach of human rights which robs people of their ability to choose their future…We understand that people seeking advice are likely to be feeling a range of emotions including anxiety, fear and uncertainty about what the future holds.

Our experienced team offers a highly skilled, effective and sympathetic service. We will listen to your concerns in an understanding, non-judgmental way and discuss with you the options you may take.”

The BBC recently reported on the alarming number of ‘honour based’ violence cases surrounding forced marriage prior to the Act coming into force, including certain victims who have attempted to flee from an involuntary marriage only to be tracked down by bounty hunters hired by their own families.

Cabinet Secretary for Equalities, Shona Robison, said: “Criminalising forced marriage gives an additional layer of protection for some of our most vulnerable people….knowing that perpetrators face a significant sanction should be empowering to victims and encourage them to seek help.”

To read David Gray’s recent post on the criminalisation of forced marriage, including how to pursue help with individual cases, please visit www.davidgray.co.uk.