I have just been watching the BBC Sunday Morning Live and a debate on forced marriages in young women from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds. The figures are horrendous as many as 8,000 girls a year are forced to marry as part of a in some ethnic minorities. I heard tale of young girls as young as 13 being married abroad and arriving back in the UK pregnant after being raped by their husband. The panel were against the legislation saying it would drive the practise underground, I say it is already underground and we aren't stopping it so now it may make it easier for teachers and health workers to flag it up without fear of being branded racist. There are many “cultural practice's”that need to be stamped out. If people want to live in the UK they must abide by our laws and face the consequences of criminal actions. What I would say is the Government should be praised for facing this issue but the amount of money they have set aside for it is woefully inadequate. Money is tight and many centres for women have been scaled back countywide and now by passing this law their workload will be increased. I think we need some joined up thinking by the authorities. Many refuges for battered women are being closed or at best funding cut back. Click here to read an article by Patrick Stewart it hi-lites the cuts and how desperate they are for charities like REFUGE which helps women and children facing problems with domestic violence and abuse.
Forced Marriage is the topic of this post and I have strayed from its focus. Many young girls will be facing this problem as we enter the period of school summer holidays. This is a favourite time for many families to go back to their homeland and for these crimes to be undertaken. I say we need more education for Teachers and community workers to enable them to see these problems that blight Young girls. We need more resources in schools for children to feel able to discuss problems what ever they are. One website dealing with these issues is Forced Marriage.net
Here is a clip from their website listing helpful organisations If you need help or just want some advice, then there are a number of organisations which can provide you with the assistance that you need. Please browse through the list to the left to find the most appropriate organisation for you.EMERGENCY NUMBERS:In case of an emergency, please use one of the following numbers:Police: 999Forced Marriage Unit: 020 7008 0151
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