Documentary shines light on ‘hidden’ forced marriage crimes in Manchester

The ‘Forced Marriage Cops’ documentary has revealed that Manchester has had 239 incidents relating to forced marriages, predominantly affecting females between 15 and 24.

In June 2014, legislation was passed to ban forced marriages and a prison sentence of seven years is the usual penalty for forced marriage.

The documentary was aired this week on Channel 4 and there is hope from the Greater Manchester Police that this will show women affected that help is available.

Detective Chief Superintendent Vanessa Jardine, head of Greater Manchester Police’s public protection division said: “Being forced into marriage to uphold family honour is not acceptable and everyone should have the right to choose who they want to spend their lives with.

“Through this program we hope victims or their friends and family members will have the confidence to report this hidden crime and dishonour those practising it.”

The documentary followed the Greater Manchester Police around for 18 months from March 2014 to August 2015.

The crime affects thousands of people across the UK and is seen as a hidden crime, which the documentary seeks to expose.

It is a difficult crime to police with some victims often finding it hard to give evidence against their relatives, but the police do not prosecute unless the defendent wants them to.

Ms Jardine said: “It is important that those watching see just how seriously we take the issue of forced marriage.”

Image courtesy of celynek, with thanks.

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