A forced marriage is defined as one where one or both people don’t consent to the marriage, triggering abuse that can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure.
An appalling practice that is used mostly against women, it is rightly recognised in the UK as a form of violence, not to mention a serious abuse of human rights.
It is shocking, therefore, that in the space of just 12 months, West Yorkshire Police have received 108 reports related to this issue – some involving girls as young as 13. And it’s thought this is merely the tip of the iceberg.
Over the same period, police have also fielded 113 reports of honour-based violence – something often linked to forced marriage cases.
While the last Labour government set up a Forced Marriage Unit nearly a decade ago to try to combat this problem, these figures show how much more work still needs to be done to banish it once and for all.
The first step is raising awareness of the issue and encouraging victims to come forward, which West Yorkshire Police are doing.
The fact that forced marriage will officially become a crime next month should also help, with those found guilty facing up for seven years’ imprisonment.
The sooner this indefensible practice is consigned to history the better.
Part and parcel of universal post service
MOST of us have gazed out of the window on a sunny day and come to the conclusion that we wouldn’t mind being a postie.
But as Paul Farrington tells us today, it’s not quite the same when it’s hammering it down with rain.
He and his colleagues can expect to cover up to 12 miles a day, each delivering hundreds of letters, cards and parcels to our front door.
It’s important to recognise the value of the universal service obligation – the Royal Mail’s statutory duty to deliver to every address in the country, six days a week, at the same price. Especially when there are fears it’s under threat from rivals cherry-picking the easy areas.