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‘Only a fraction’ of forced marriage investigations result in a prosecution

FoI request uncovers evidential difficulties of investigations

The Guardian reports that 'only a fraction' of investigations into forced marriage have resulted in a prosecution since forced marriage was criminalised by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 which came into force in June 2014.

Of seven police forces which supplied figures to the newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act, West Yorkshire had launched the highest number of investigations into forced marriage with 51, ahead of 31 in the West Midlands, seven in Greater Manchester and five in South Yorkshire.

The newspaper states that many investigations are dropped for lack of evidence. In West Yorkshire, for example, 35 investigations were discontinued because of 'evidential difficulties', of which 16 were 'victim-based'.

To date there has been one conviction under the 2014 Act. In that case a 34-year-old man was sentenced to 16 years' imprisonment after pleading guilty to the offence of forced marriage as well as four counts of rape, one count of bigamy and one count of voyeurism.

The Guardian report is here.