Speeches sourced from the Labour party’s online archive More…

Kate Green MP, Labour's Shadow Equalities Minister, said:

"Forced marriage should never be tolerated - it is a terrible violation and can destroy people's lives. The law should be strengthened to build on the work done to stop forced marriage. The Government needs to work with experts to get the detail right and also to make sure that cuts to refuges or legal aid don't undermine the support victims need in practice.

"Forced marriage protection orders introduced by Labour five years ago to combat forced marriage through the Family Courts have been widely used by protection experts helping hundreds of victims in the last few years. That work should continue.

"But the law should also be strengthened including appropriate criminal sanctions to stop more forced marriages and protect victims. The Home Affairs Select Committee has raised questions about enforcement and the need for further measures.

"The Home Office needs to ensure the framework adopted is effective rather than counter productive. Ministers need to demonstrate they are working with victims groups and experts on the detail to make sure victims have the confidence to come forward and are not put off.

"Also the legal framework won't make a difference without proper support, prevention, education and enforcement. Cuts to refuges and threats to legal aid risk making it harder for potential victims to get the help they need. The forced marriage unit has done some important work but we must see more action in schools to help those who may become victims of forced marriage. The Government is currently making that harder not easier through its education policy, so they need to address that as part of their plan."

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