Forced marriage could be made a crime in Scotland

Committee chair Christine Grahame has called for submissions. Picture: TSPL

Committee chair Christine Grahame has called for submissions. Picture: TSPL

MSPs are seeking views on whether forced marriage should be a criminal offence.

Holyrood’s Justice Committee wants to know if people believe criminalisation would be an improvement or if present safeguards are sufficient.

The call for evidence comes after an attempt by Westminster to legislate for Scotland on the criminalisation for forced marriage.

The UK Bill would make it a criminal offence for any person to use violence, threats or any other form of coercion to force someone to marry without their free and full consent.

Forcing someone to marry is not a criminal offence in Scotland, although individuals or local authorities can apply to a court for a Forced Marriage Protection Order. Any breach of such an order would be contempt of court.

Committee convener Christine Grahame urged people to speak out on the issue.

“This new UK Bill would introduce a new criminal offence of forced marriage into Scotland. We want to hear from stakeholders on whether they think this is an improvement on our current legal situation or not?” she said.

“Currently in Scotland a victim or a local authority can apply to the court for a Forced Marriage Protection Order and then any breach of that would result in contempt of court. It may be stakeholders believe that is sufficient.”

The committee welcomes “all views on this”, she said.




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