11 Oct '11, 1am
UK to consider criminalising forced marriages
LONDON (AP) - Forcing someone into marriage could be made a criminal act under possible changes to British law, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday. Alongside moves aimed at cracking down on sham marriages used to cheat immigration rules, Mr Cameron said he has asked interior ministry officials to discuss creating a new offence aimed at those who force people to marry against their will. Currently, a potential victim of forced marriage can apply to a court for a protection order, which is intended to stop intimidation or violence and prevent someone from being sent overseas. Although anyone breaching the order can be jailed for two years, the sanction is made under civil - not criminal - law and is rarely imposed. A panel of lawmakers found in May that only one person had been imprisoned under the legislation, which was introduced in 2008.