Children as young as 13 are reporting concerns about forced marriages, a charity has warned.
Girls as young as 13 told Childline counsellors they were frightened about being taken abroad and forced to marry strangers by their families. Many said they experienced emotional abuse from their parents and were afraid of being cut out of their communities if they refused.
In 2016/17, Childline has carried out 205 counselling sessions on forced marriage, a 12 per cent rise on the previous year. The charity’s website has received 6,099 visits to its forced marriage webpage.
NSPCC Chief Executive Peter Wanless said: “No child should be forced into marriage and we must be clear that, regardless of cultural expectations, this is a crime and an abuse of human rights. Forcing a child to marry shows a complete lack of regard for their feelings, thoughts or ambitions.”
“We understand some may worry about betraying their family but we would urge anyone – including potential victims – to speak up before it is too late. Help us break the cycle and speak up, so that we can step in and stop a child being bound into something that they would never ask for,” he added.
A forced marriage is a marriage that takes place without the full and free consent of both parties. It is against the law and offenders can go to prison for up to seven years. Force can include physical force but may also include emotional pressure, being threatened or being a victim of psychological abuse.
Children may have been told they are going on a normal holiday and don't realise they are going to be married to a stranger. Once they're abroad, it can be difficult to get help and stop the marriage, the charity warns.
Many children don't speak up about forced marriage because they're worried about family honour and being isolated by their communities. Others fear their relatives would be punished if they sought help.
A National Deprivation of Liberty Court dealing specifically with applications relating to deprive children of their liberty has been announced by Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the family division.
The court will deal with applications seeking authorisation to deprive children of their liberty and will be based at the Royal Courts of Justice under the [...]
Some children have been failed by the agencies that were meant to protect them because child protection procedures had not been properly followed, an independent assurance review into historic child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Oldham has found.
Evidence of poor practice was attributed to a structural flaw the review team found in the multi-agency system [...]
Find out more about our Business Administrator Chloe Bach who has been with WillisPalmer since 2009.
Tea or coffee?
Coffee (oat milk latte)
What 3 things would you put in Room 101?
Migraines, slugs and war
What is your favourite place in the world?
Wherever my family is (but I do love New York)
If you were on death row what [...]