Forced Marriage, Honour Based Violence, Female Genital Mutilation Conference

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Forced marriage is recognised in the UK as a form of violence against women, domestic/child abuse and a serious abuse of human rights. The Ministry of Justice report “One year on: the initial impact of the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007” has identified gaps in provision that need to be addressed and concludes that there is a need for continuing publicity, training and interagency cooperation. Whilst there is a need for action, there is also a need for caution and understanding of the impact an application under the Act will have on a young person.

The pressure put on people to marry against their will can be physical, (including threats, actual physical violence and sexual violence), or emotional and psychological (for example when someone is made to feel like they're bringing shame on their family). Financial abuse (taking your wages and not giving you any money) can also be a factor.

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 makes it a criminal offence to force someone to marry. This includes:
  • Taking someone overseas to force them to marry (whether or not the forced marriage takes place)
  • Marrying someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they are pressured to or not)
  • Breaching a Forced Marriage Protection Order
The most recent estimates from the Home Office predict that 65,000 girls are at risk of Female Genital Mutilation in the UK with up to 3 million girls worldwide undergoing Female Genital Mutilation every year. The practice is very harmful and can cause long-term mental and physical suffering, difficulty in giving birth, infertility and even death. Any incidents of Female Genital Mutilation must be reported to the police.

In March 2010, Safer Gloucester organised a conference for strategic leaders of agencies and practitioners from statutory and voluntary agencies to look at Forced Marriage, Honour Based Violence and Female Genital Mutilation, seeking to improve prevention, support and prosecution. It hosted a number of speakers from across the UK including Karma Nirvana, the Forced Marriage Unit of the Home Office, the Department of Children, Schools and Families, Association of Chief Police Officers, Public Protection Bureau, Crown Prosecution Service, Witness Care Unit, Project Azure from the Metropolitan Police and an FGM/Public Health Specialist from Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital.

Monitoring Incidents

Following the Forced Marriage, Honour Based Violence and Female Genital Mutilation Conference held, a county sub group was formed to address these issues from a strategic perspective. The current focus of this sub group is to scope the prevalence of Honour Based Violence, Forced Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation. Please see definitions provided below;

Honour Based Violence (HBV): Honour based violence is a crime or incident, which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and /or community.

Forced Marriage (FM): A Forced Marriage is a marriage in which one or both spouses do not (or in the case of some adults with support needs, cannot) consent to the marriage and duress involved. Duress can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual, emotional pressure.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): Female Genital Mutilation includes all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non medical reasons.

In Gloucestershire, the Police Public Protection Bureau have produced a monitoring form which they are asking all agencies and members of the public to utilise in order to scope how many incidents of these types there have been historically and are currently in County. The group asks that agencies and members of the public complete this form when they believe and/or suspect that Honour Based Violence, Forced Marriage, or Female Genital Mutilation has occurred in the last 5 years or is of imminent risk. If any of these issues are of imminent risk the group strongly advises that the reporting agency/person informs the police.Formal reporting of female genital mutilation to the police is mandatory. This monitoring report is not a formal report.

See below to access the monitoring form which is available for agencies and individuals use.

All completed forms will be used for monitoring purposes only, NOT referrals. Forms will need to be sent directly to Sophie Jarrett, Strategic County Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Co-ordinator at Sophie.Jarrett@gloucestershire.pnn.police.uk

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