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Criminalisation alone will not stop forced marriage, says Demos

Think tank advocates a more holistic approach of community engagement

A new publication by the think-tank Demos argues that the ending of forced marriage requires an holistic approach, involving community engagement and focusing on prevention rather than prosecution. Criminalisation alone, it says, will not be enough.

Ending Forced Marriage examines the history of the Government's fight against the practice in the UK, drawing on case studies of initiatives run in Commonwealth countries by the Department for International Development (DfID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). It finds that the reason these schemes are successful is their holistic approach to the problem.

Drawing on these findings, the report recommends that the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) should be given a deeper, wider presence, with representatives across the UK engaging with local communities and a requirement on public servants to understand and assist the unit's mission. In terms of international action, the Government should build on its successful strategy of engaging Commonwealth partners and persuade core countries to coalesce around defined actions and targets. Finally, there should be greater integration between the FMU, FCO and DfID so that lessons learned from effective overseas initiatives can be applied at home. Tackling forced marriage requires a relentless focus on prevention as well as prosecution.

To download a copy of the publication, please visit the Demos website.