Forced marriage crime law backed by Scottish parliament

MSPs have voted for the plan to have UK-wide legislation

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The Scottish parliament has backed a move to create a criminal offence covering forced marriages.

Those who break the law will be liable to a jail term of up to seven years.

The vote by MSPs was needed to allow Westminster to create a law which will cover the whole of the United Kingdom.

Two years ago, Holyrood passed legislation covering Scotland which allows the courts to issue orders preventing people being married against their will.

Those who breach such orders are already committing a criminal offence. The UK-wide legislation is seen as a strengthening of the rules.

Concerns have been expressed by Scottish Woman's Aid, which fears criminalising forced marriage could dissuade victims from approaching the authorities.

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