Home Secretary vows to take action over forced marriages

Home Secretary vows to take action over forced marriages

The Home Secretary Sajid Javid has vowed to do more to combat forced marriages, saying the practice has no place in British society after charities warned that the home office has failed to protect British women and teenage girls that are forced into abusive marriages by granting their foreign husbands visas.

He said: “This uncivilised practice has no place whatsoever in Britain. We will be doing more to combat it and support victims.

“Those who force British women into marriage, be warned that we are redoubling our efforts to make sure you pay for your crimes.”

His comments came after data obtained by The Times revealed that officials dealt with nearly 90 cases of victims trying to block visas last year, although half were still issued.

The home office received 175 inquiries concerning victims trying to block spouses’ visas last year, Of those 88 became full cases and visas were still issued in 42 of those, while the decision is still pending or an appeal is being heard in 10.

The women had been forced to marry men in countries including Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates.

Laws were introduced in England and Wales making it illegal to force someone into a marriage in 2014. Anyone who is now found guilty of doing so can be jailed for up to seven years. Police were also given powers to issue forced marriage protection orders to help protect victims, breaches of which are punishable by up to five years in prison.

The Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said: “The Government has been too slow to act on preventing domestic abusers being granted visas through marriage. They must act decisively on this issue.