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Students: Forced Marriage

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 27 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will issue guidance to schools and colleges to ensure that advice and support is available for students who might be the subject of (a) forced and (b) arranged marriages. (189115)

A forced marriage is a marriage conducted without the full consent of both parties and where duress is a factor. It is a human rights abuse and is not sanctioned by any culture or religion. In an arranged marriage both parties consent of their own free will, and so arranged marriages are legal. We have encouraged schools through guidance to make available information about helplines and access to support for students who might be the subject of forced marriage. Following recent concerns that information was not being provided to students, my Department is looking into this issue, jointly with the Forced Marriage Unit. We will report back to the House in March.