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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-05390: Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 7 December 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what its assessment is of how effectively Section 122 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, regarding forced marriage, is operating.

Answered by: Angela Constance 19 December 2016

The Scottish Government believes that everyone in Scotland who can marry or enter into a civil partnership has the right to do so freely and without coercion and the legislation in Scotland is there to ensure choice, safety and protection.

Section 122 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 is providing an additional layer of protection to people who may be affected by forced marriage. There have been no prosecutions under the Act. The 2014 legislation does not replace the Forced Marriage etc (Protection and Jurisdiction) (Scotland) Act 2011 but sits alongside it. The protection provided by and FMPO continues to exist alongside a new criminal offence. This means that a person could choose to take the civil route, or to go to the police (as they can now).

Note that if a person chooses to go to the police, and the police refer the case to COPFS, it will then be for the COPFS to decide whether or not to take any criminal proceedings against those involved in forcing a person into marriage.