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Government consults on forced marriage

5 December 2008

Tackling forced marriage in Scotland is the focus of a new consultation published by the Scottish Government.

Forced Marriage: A Civil Remedy? explores whether the introduction of civil legislation will add to the protection already available to those forced into marriage in Scotland.

It will also ask how best those affected by the issue can get the support they need, and how communities can work together to prevent forced marriages from happening.

In addition to the consultation, the Scottish Government is also contributing more than £5,000 to an anonymous freephone survey which has been set up to determine the extent of forced marriage across Scotland.

The definition of forced marriage is different from arranged marriage, i.e. forcing people to marry against their will.

Key issues for discussion in the consultation include whether current legislative protection in Scotland is enough and what non-legislative support needs to be put in place.

Communities and Sport Minister, Stewart Maxwell, said: "Forced marriage is an abhorrent practice which has no place in Scotland.

"We need to hear the voices of those affected and those who understand the issues involved.”

The consultation, which is open until 28 March 2009, can be read via this link to the Scottish Government website. The freephone line – 0800 141 2759 – will be open from 5 December 2008 until 5 March 2009. The questionnaire is also available online at www.forcedmarriages.org.uk .

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