Several children from Rotherham identified as being at risk of forced marriage have been granted the protection of a Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO) by a Sheffield court.
Officers in Rotherham’s Protecting Vulnerable People (PVP) team, supported by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and South Yorkshire Police’s Legal Services department, made the application after concerns were raised about several children being at risk of forced marriage.
Forced marriage is a marriage that is carried out without one or both parties’ consent, conducted against their will. Often, pressure and abuse is used against victims.
Forced marriage is different to an arranged marriage in that both parties consent to help from families or a third party in choosing their spouse in an arranged marriage.
Forced Marriage Protection Orders (FMPOs) are an effective safeguarding tool to help police and partner agencies protect vulnerable victims. They can sit alongside a criminal investigation, as well as being sought independently of any criminal proceedings.
Breaches of a FMPO could result in a prison sentence.
Temporary Detective Sergeant Tom Bishop from Rotherham’s PVP team said: “Concerns were raised about the welfare of several children as a result of a referral from one of our partner agencies.
“Police and children’s social care took swift, positive action. All of the children are now effectively safeguarded by the FMPOs that have subsequently been granted by the courts.
“Across South Yorkshire there are a number of people, adults and children alike, who are currently protected by FMPOs and I hope this demonstrates to victims and affected communities that we treat these reports incredibly seriously.
“The court will consider in due course whether further orders are to be made.”
On Monday 21 October, a 42-year-old Rotherham woman was arrested on suspicion of forced marriage offences. She has been bailed pending further enquiries.
The FMPOs were granted on Friday 25 October.
If you have concerns about forced marriage, please call South Yorkshire Police on 101. If a life is at risk, call 999.