Skip to main content

Forced Marriage

Volume 485: debated on Monday 15 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many suspected cases of forced marriage were reported to (a) the UK Border Agency and (b) UK agencies abroad in the last 12 months; (241227)

(2) what timetable she has set for taking steps to assist victims of forced marriage with no recourse to public funds;

(3) what progress has been made towards full implementation of the scheme to give victims of domestic violence with no recourse to public funds access to assistance with their housing and living costs;

(4) what steps her Department is taking to prevent forced marriage by raising public awareness of the matter.

During the first three quarters of 2008 the Forced Marriage Unit provided support in 196 reluctant visa sponsors cases that were dealt with by the UK Border Agency and provided consular assistance overseas in 192 cases.

Since January this year the Forced Marriage Unit has participated in over 90 outreach events to raise awareness of forced marriage in the community.

Over the next two years the Forced Marriage Unit will continue to provide a programme engagement, including rolling out pilot surgeries in selected areas in order to raise awareness and provide support around forced marriage directly to local communities and participating in a further series of regional "honour" based violence roadshows.

In March, the Home Office announced a new scheme where those supporting victims of domestic violence who have no recourse to public funds may be eligible to receive financial support towards their housing and living costs. If someone is a victim of forced marriage and has no recourse to public funds then they will be able to apply for ILR under the Domestic Violence Rule. They may also be eligible to apply for support under the new No Recourse to Public Funds scheme, in order to receive support for their housing and living costs.

We continue to work closely with colleagues in the UKBA, the No Recourse to Public Funds Network and stakeholders, on the detail of the scheme to give victims of domestic violence with no recourse to public funds, access to assistance with their housing and living costs, if their application for indefinite leave to remain is successful. The scheme is currently being negotiated and will be implemented shortly.