New law sees county police step up its fight against forced marriages

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Herts Police are kickstarting a week of action against forced marriages on the back of a new law which came into force this week.

New legislation has outlawed the practice of forced marriages in the UK, which now makes it punishable by up to seven years in jail.

Temporary Det Supt Geoff Camp, head of the county’s Community Safety Unit said: “Victims of forced marriage may find it extremely hard to come forward and report that they are being forced into marriage. They may be subjected to sexual and ongoing domestic abuse, and in some cases, suffer violence and abuse from extended family members,or even immediate family, including parents.

“It’s important that people are aware it’s now a criminal offence and are alert to the signs.

“We are working with partner agencies who provide help and support to victims.”

It is thought this type of crime is widely under-reported by victims and that many more people may be suffering, including in Herts.

From Monday, the county’s force will host a week of awareness around forced marriage, honour-based violence and female genital mutilation, beginning with a conference in conjunction with the charity Karma Nirvana, and sharing accounts from survivors on social media.

To report a crime call police on 101.