NEWS: Forced marriages on the rise

Forced Marriage

“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Betty with the baby carriage”— or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work. But for more than 1,540 Britons that’s not always the case.

The Daily Mail reported forced marriages in the UK have risen ten-fold in the past four years. This year alone 770 suspected cases where individuals are pressured into marriage against their desire have been reported, with 1,540 cases expected by the end of the year. That’s an increase of more than 913 percent, the paper reported.

The incidence is said to affect mainly young women between the ages of 13 and 30. Young Asians are most affected, with more than 70% coming from Pakistani origin, more than a third of cases involve women under the age of 18 and one in six under the age of 16.

In efforts to combat the practice, the UK government has created guidelines for schools, police, doctors and other officials “to help them identify and respond” to forced marriages,  BBC reported (time: 07.09). The 105-page document is now available to download this summer, when forced marriages are most likely to happen, authorities said.

“There is no culture and there is no religion where forced marriage should be acceptable… there are some people who think this is a question about Islam—it’s not. Islam does not recommend or accept forced marriage,” Foreign Office minister Chris Bryant said.

Bryant said they have had great success over the years with the number of incidents reported to the Forced Marriage Unit rising. He said last year they helped intervene in 420 cases. “This sounds like a bad thing, but it means that we’re able to intervene and have been able to help.”

The booklet details various instances for professionals where there are tell-tale signs, such as the following:

–         When an elder sibling has married very young or has suddenly

–         When a student suddenly leaves school or is taken back to their or their parents’ home country.

–         If the child becomes self-harming.

–         When the youth is constantly accompanied by parents. For example, if a girl becomes pregnant and the parent’s will not allow the doctor to see the young girl on her own.

The guide offers useful legal information as to what to do if you suspect someone has been forced into a marriage. The guide states that forcing someone to marry is not a criminal offence. However, in forcing someone to marry against their will, other offences are committed which can be prosecuted, such as threatening behavior, assault, kidnap, and others. It also offers helpful numbers in various countries.

Bryant also said that because the Forced Marriage Unit is a combination of the Home Office and the British Foreign Commonwealth Office, they are able to work in many countries throughout the world to make sure young girls are not forced into marriage.

Know your rights!

– JD

One Response to “NEWS: Forced marriages on the rise”

  1. […] For people who get around. « NEWS: Forced marriages on the rise […]

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