Child Protection Guidance 2021

Part 4: Specific support needs and concerns 203 National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Version 1.0 September 2021 Honour-based abuse and forced marriage 4.425 Article 24(3) of the UNCRC requires public authorities to take all effective and appropriate measures with a view to abolishing traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children. 4.426 A forced marriage is a marriage conducted without the full and free consent of both parties, and where duress is a factor. Duress can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional abuse. A forced marriage is different from an ‘arranged marriage’. An arranged marriage is one in which the families of both spouses are primarily responsible for choosing a marriage partner for their child or relative, but the final decision as to whether or not to accept the arrangement lies with the potential spouses: both spouses give their full and free consent. The tradition of arranged marriage has operated successfully within many communities for generations. 4.427 Forced marriage is both a child protection and adult protection matter. Child protection processes will be considered up to the age of 18. Forced marriage may be a risk alongside other forms of so called ‘honour-based’ abuse (HBA). 4.428 HBA includes practices used to control behaviour within families, communities, or other social groups, to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or ‘honour’. Such abuse can occur, for example, when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed or may potentially shame the family and/or community by breaking their honour code. This abuse can take many forms, including threatening behaviour, emotional blackmail, assault, rape, abduction, forced marriage, confinement and ‘honour killing’. 4.429 Perceived transgressions which may trigger HBA include: supposedly ‘inappropriate’ makeup or dress; having a boyfriend/girlfriend; forming a relationship with someone of a different faith; showing same-sex attraction or having a same-sex relationship; kissing or intimacy in a public place; pregnancy outside marriage; and rejecting or seeking to escape from a forced/arranged marriage. Particularly for women, seeking a divorce (regardless of the reasons behind this) is extremely stigmatised and can lead to ostracism and honour abuse. 4.430 Children at risk. Those who might identify as LGBT and disabled children may be at increased risk of forced marriage. For LGBT people this is seen as a way of ensuring that their LGBT identity is not made public. Forced marriages are also seen as a way of ensuring that someone who needs care has a spouse who can provide this care. Furthermore, immigration can be an aggravating factor towards forced marriage: by arranging a marriage of a UK citizen with someone from overseas, the overseas spouse is guaranteed an easier entry into the UK. An estimated 80% of forced marriage victims are girls and women. HBA support work is mainly conducted by women’s organisations. However, boys, especially those who might identify as gay, bi-sexual or transgender are also affected by forced marriage, domestic abuse, coercive control and other forms of HBA. Practitioners should be aware that forced marriage is not restricted to any particular ethnic or religious community. 4.431 Legal framework. Forced marriage legislation should be used in conjunction with child and adult protection legislation. In Scotland, a couple cannot be legally married unless both parties are at least 16 on the day of the wedding, and are capable of understanding the nature of a marriage ceremony and of consenting to the marriage. Parental consent is not required. The Forced Marriage etc. (Protection and Jurisdiction) (Scotland) Act 2011 introduced civil remedies for those at risk of forced marriage, and those who have already been forced into marriage. It introduced a civil Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO), which can be used to protect those at risk; it is a criminal offence to breach a FMPO. To extend protection for those at risk, section 122 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 makes forced marriage an offence in Scotland.