Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Monday, 1 February 2010

Forced marriage protection orders pass 100

By Adam Pasternicki
BBC Asian Network

Forced marriage poster
More than double the expected FMPOs have been taken out

Forced Marriage Protection Orders (FMPOs) issued by the government have passed 100.

FMPOs apply in England and Wales and can be taken out by anyone who is worried their family want to make them marry someone against their will.

A third party can also apply to have one taken out and about half of the 107 issued cover children under 18.

BBC Asian Network has also found a seven-year-old girl is currently being assessed to see if she needs an order.

The government was expecting to issue a maximum of 50 FMPOs during the first year of the legislation between November 2008 and the end of October 2009 but nearly double were handed out in that time.

Protection

The figure has now risen, although none have been issued in cities with large Asian populations such as Bradford and Leicester.

Having an FMPO in place often means family members have to hand over their passports and face prison if convicted of forcing someone into marriage.

In one case study that has been uncovered, a 25-year-old Muslim student from London is thinking of applying for a FMPO order for his Hindu girlfriend.

The pair have been dating for four years. His family do not approve of the relationship, while she is worried that her parents will also be against it as she prepares to tell them about it.

"I love her. I want to marry her. She's the woman that I want to be with for the rest of my life but my parents would see it differently. They think it's not right," the Muslim man told BBC Asian Network.

"They (the parents) are more concerned about what the next-door neighbour would think rather than what's best for me.

"My main fear is that I lose communication with her (after she has told her parents). I will not know what's going on with her and my next step would be to take out an FMPO."



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