9 Feb 2007

Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Bill

Lord Lester is proposing an amendment to The Family Law Act 1996 "to make provision for protecting individuals against being forced to enter into marriage without their free and full consent, and for connected purposes."

His associates are saying, "We welcome suggestions and input from organisations and individuals."

Please send your response including your name, organisation (if any) and contact details by 28 February 2007 to:

The Odysseus Trust
193 Fleet Street
London EC4A 2AH
Tel: 020 7404 4712
Fax: 020 7405 7314
Email: info@odysseustrust.org

Background information and the draft Bill, are at the web site above. The Bill was introduced into the House of Lords on 16 November 2006 and had its Second Reading debate on Friday 26 January 2007. The Bill was committed to a Grand Committee on 5 February 2007.

This is an excellent opportunity for people who believe in preventative measures to ask for any "connected purposes" to be addressed in the Bill.

I am suggesting two additional clauses should be added to section 2 of the draft Bill concerning 'guidance', which starts with 2 (a) the difference between arranged and forced marriage:

(e) the opportunities and advantages for the parties to protect themselves and each other against any possible accusations about the marriage being one that is forced or bogus by participating together in a research-based educational programme of marriage preparation - including an independently validated psychometric inventory - to assist them in confirming to the Registrar or deputy Registrar the voluntary nature of their commitment to the marriage.

(f) the advantage of obtaining a certificate from the facilitator of the programme of marriage preparation that they have satisfactorily completed both the educational programme and the inventory.

I should be very interested - as ever - to hear the views of any readers of this blog.

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