Page last updated at 11:29 GMT, Thursday, 26 November 2009

Forced marriage support offered

Forced Marriage Unit poster
Lancashire has secured one forced marriage protection order

Police in Lancashire are encouraging victims of forced marriage to come forward on the first anniversary of legislation aimed at protecting them.

A new law came into force in November 2008 and means those who are convicted of forcing someone into marriage can be jailed for up to two years.

Lancashire police have specialist teams dealing with the issue, which handle about five inquiries a week.

Police said victims are gaining confidence about speaking out.

Det Ch Insp Justin Srivastava, of Lancashire police, said: "We have witnessed a significant increase in the number of people contacting us about forced marriages which suggests that victims feel more confident in reporting their situation to police and believe that they will be offered support and advice.

"Recent success stories such as the granting of the first forced marriage protection order in Lancashire have given hope that there are solutions and victims will be protected to prevent an unwanted marriage."

Earlier this year a Blackburn woman who kept her three daughters-in-law imprisoned in her home was jailed for seven years.

Naseebah Bibi, 64, of Pringle Street , was found guilty of false imprisonment after an eight day trial.

The women, who had been subject of an arranged marriage in Pakistan, were all brought to Blackburn where they were forced to carry out household duties such as sewing and cleaning.

Police in Lancashire work with health services, the county's domestic violence partnership, social services and teachers to help victims.

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