This is a very significant time for us in Scotland in relation to our work on forced marriage. We will soon have our own legislation, the Forced Marriage etc. (Protection and Jurisdiction) (Scotland) Act 2011 ("the Act"), which was passed by the Scottish Parliament earlier today.
Going forward, we will be doing things our own way, no longer following England and Wales but always grateful to them for sharing their learning with us as we will with them.
We will rely on your help to make sure our legislation works the way we want it to and that we provide protection effectively to the very vulnerable people who may require a Forced Marriage Protection Order. We know that our public sector partners will be crucial to the success of this new legislation. That is why we have listened to those who gave evidence on the Act as it went through Parliament about the importance of guidance, and in fact I introduced an amendment at Stage 2 to make it a requirement that guidance on the effect of Part 1 of the Act be given prior to, or at the same time as, commencement.
We are looking for your help now in making sure that the guidance achieves its purpose - to clearly and explicitly set out the responsibilities of public bodies in implementing the Act. As you will see in the consultation document, we have posed a number of questions which we would like you to answer. In addition, please do let us know if there are any other aspects which you think we should take into account.
Thank you for your help. I am very pleased that we now have this important new legislation in Scotland, and I look forward to working with you to make sure it does what we all want it to do.
Minister for Housing & Communities