Latest Forced Marriage statistics and problems


by Rumbold
24th February, 2011 at 9:19 am    

Tulip Mazumdar, who works for BBC’s Newsbeat, reports on last year’s forced marriage statistics:

According to new figures seen by Newsbeat, there were 1,735 incidents of potential or actual cases involving British nationals reported to the forced marriage unit (FMU) in 2010. More than half of the cases dealt with last year by the government’s forced marriage unit were related to Pakistan. Meanwhile, almost a third involved people under the age of 18.

There has been criticism of the government and state for not doing enough to combat forced marriages:

The victim went to a predominantly Asian school but says she was never made aware of any help available to people like her. Every school secondary in England and Wales is supposed to be sent statutory guidelines, which they should implement. A member of staff must be put in charge of raising awareness of the issue in schools and looking out for signs of potential forced marriage. But there are concerns that this isn’t happening. Jasvinder Sanghera, from the forced marriage charity Karma Nirvana, wants the issue put on the school curriculum.

For all the failings of the last government, they did make some important moves on forced marriage. An (under resourced) Forced Marriage Unit was set up, and legislation was brought in to make forced marriage a civil offence. The reason it was not criminalised was because the vast majority of victims interviewed would not have come forward for help if they believed that their parents were going to be prosecuted. Therefore the law was a compromise which allowed the authorities to use the force of law without putting victims off from coming forward. The law has also resulted in some notable successes.

Yet, as Jaswinder Sanghera points out, there still needs to be a more fundamental shift in attitudes towards tackling forced marriage, particularly in schools. Many of those at risk from a forced marriage will be at school, or will have recently attended one. Knowing about their rights and what to do if they or a friend is being forced into marriage will help vulnerable individuals. There is no reason why such a subject couldn’t be covered in school. It wouldn’t take more than a lesson or two, and the information could easily be displayed around school. This is where the government can be useful. They should force schools to teach this and display the information.


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  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : Latest Forced Marriage statistics and problems http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/11926


  2. Rifat Sheikh

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  3. sianushka

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Latest Forced Marriage statistics and problems http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/11926


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  6. Latest Forced Marriage statistics and problems | Pan Heads and Dead Heads Rock On

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  7. 50 Million Missing

    Latest #Forced #Marriage statistics in the U.K. Shocking! http://bit.ly/hC7lcK


  8. Tees Valley IP CIC

    Forced marriage statistics, for 2010….
    http://t.co/4c7VMRlZ




  1. cjcjc — on 24th February, 2011 at 11:33 am  

    “They should force schools to teach this and display the information.”

    Indeed they should.

    Though there may be some blowback, as they say.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1359160/4-men-slashed-teachers-face-teaching-religions-Muslim-girls.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

  2. platinum786 — on 24th February, 2011 at 11:39 am  

    More needs to be done to punish those who are involved in this practice. The people forcing the victim to get married need to be sent to prison. Also support needs to be available to the victims. A lot of girls (it is mostly girls who are the victims)might know they can call a unit, but what then? Your 15-16, you’ll be left on the dole in a grotty B&B for 6 months/a year, what after that? What of college/studying/jobs etc.

    In some cases of forced marriages violence is used as a form of coercion, but that’s a minority of cases, in a majority of cases it’s emotional and financial blackmail, stuff like “my house my rules”, either do as your told or we don’t want to know you. A lot of it is more subtle, stuff like “life will be the same, you will just be married”, or “give it a try at least, you can continue living the life you want, you can continue to study etc”.

    I also think we need to get the Pakistani’s to be more accountable. It’s not a solely Pakistani thing, but it’s more likely to be Pakistani than anyone else in the UK. Anyone registering a forced marriage in Pakistan should be struck off the list of people allowed to register a marriage. A simple move like that would deter most clerics from filling out the paperwork, it’s their livelihood. Most of these forces marriages are done for visas to the UK, or to keep money in the family, no paperwork = no visa.

  3. jamal — on 24th February, 2011 at 12:12 pm  

    platinum

    There is no community leader or religious leaders who would support forced marriage.

    It is individual parents or elders who choose to force sons or daughters down this path. If proved in court then they need to face full weight of law which needs to include more severe punishments.

  4. Pro Blogger News — on 24th February, 2011 at 12:18 pm  

    Peace n prosperity Rumbold, I come to your website often but I am usually a lurker. I decided I’d finally post a comment for post saying how much I love visiting your blog as I think your writing is both exciting and helpful. Keep your blog up-to-date and you have a visitor for life, glad to meet you,thanks.

  5. platinum786 — on 24th February, 2011 at 12:44 pm  

    Jamal, someone fills out the Nikkah nama, someone registers it. That person as a responsibility to know the age of those getting married. When I was married the mufti asked for my National Identity Card to verify my identity. He knew I wasn’t 15. He also asked me whether I wanted to get married. He did the same for my wife, he filled out the paperwork and registered our marriage.

    If a marriage is turned out to be a forced marriage and it can be proven that the person who registered the wedding was aware of it, or neglected their duty (not checking age and marrying off an under age girl), then that person should face some punishment too as that person bears some responsibility.

    In the case of most forces marriages, that enforcement needs to be done abroad.

  6. Kismet Hardy — on 24th February, 2011 at 12:53 pm  

    “They should force schools to teach this and display the information.”

    Never a truer word said. As I’ve mentioned before I get a lot of young girls doing work experience for us and we can tell a victim and have a system of easing them into opening up. when we tell them things like it’s illegal for your parents to send you to Pakistan to marry a cousin or lock you in your room till you promise not to email that Hindu boy many are genuinely convinced we’re making it up because we’re progressive and thus alien to their cause

  7. Rumbold — on 24th February, 2011 at 2:02 pm  

    Platinum786:

    A simple move like that would deter most clerics from filling out the paperwork, it’s their livelihood. Most of these forces marriages are done for visas to the UK, or to keep money in the family, no paperwork = no visa.

    I agree. Excellent idea.

    The people forcing the victim to get married need to be sent to prison.

    In an ideal world yes, but the reason forced marriage wasn’t criminalised is because most victims interviewed said they wouldn’t have come forward if they thought their parents would be sent to prison. So such a move, sadly, would be counter-productive.

    Kismet Hardy:

    As I’ve mentioned before I get a lot of young girls doing work experience for us and we can tell a victim and have a system of easing them into opening up.

    Keep up the good work.

  8. boyo — on 24th February, 2011 at 2:18 pm  

    I think the story highlighted by cjcjc is truly shocking.

    One attack of course can cow many more RE teachers and is part of a culture of systematic intimidation which will only get worse as education becomes more segregated. Picklers should be mindful of this the next time PP highlights some act of BNP thuggery – it strikes me that this is far more thought-out, like comparing UDA with IRA…

  9. platinum786 — on 24th February, 2011 at 2:24 pm  

    ^^^I don’t know how people think they can get away with stuff like that. They need to be made of example of. RE for most people is the only time they learn anything factual about another religion!

  10. MaidMarian — on 24th February, 2011 at 4:14 pm  

    Rumbold/Platinum786 –

    A marriage certificate does NOT automatically entitle someone to come to the UK – even if the certificate is issued by a UK registry office. It can be used as part of an application via a process for spouses but there is nothing automatic about the process and very real hurdles must be cleared. There was a misrepresentation by the right-wing press going about that marriage = visa, perhpas that is what you have in mind.

    I honestly don’t know how suspicions of forced marriage are treated by immigration, but I would guess that any suspicion would immidiately set off alarm bells. The idea that there is no scrutiny of marriage is simply not true.

    Even if someone does come to the UK via marriage to a UK citizen, that does not give family any rights to come to the UK, and has not done so for a long time. I am currently fighting a tribunal case for my parents-in-law who have no right to come to the UK, despite my wife being a UK citizen.

    Rumbold – A number of people have put this point up on here before. As great as it is that you are keeping up the interest in this important issue, the common idea that marriage = visa may well be one reason why the practice continues. Some nuance would be a good thing here.

  11. Rumbold — on 24th February, 2011 at 5:02 pm  

    MaidMarian:

    A marriage certificate does NOT automatically entitle someone to come to the UK – even if the certificate is issued by a UK registry office. It can be used as part of an application via a process for spouses but there is nothing automatic about the process and very real hurdles must be cleared.

    Agreed. But as you say, it does help. And what Platinum was saying was that these marriages are sued in support of a visa.

    the common idea that marriage = visa may well be one reason why the practice continues

    that is important from the subcontinental end. But often in this country the girls (and boys) are married off as a way to control them, as their relatives fear they are losing their grip on them.

    I honestly don’t know how suspicions of forced marriage are treated by immigration, but I would guess that any suspicion would immidiately set off alarm bells.

    I had a chat with someone from the FMU last year, and they said that although the system had got better, it can still be quite ad hoc. People who ring up and highlight a potential forced marriage visa application will be taken serious, and their claims will be investigated.

  12. pete — on 24th February, 2011 at 5:48 pm  

    Typical of cjcjc and his Daily Mail ilk to turn this into a muslim-bashing hatefest….

  13. Don — on 24th February, 2011 at 5:53 pm  

    Is this a muslim-bashing hate-fest? Which comments did you have in mind?

  14. Kismet Hardy — on 24th February, 2011 at 6:17 pm  

    the one about the muslims-bashing the teacher

  15. terry fitz — on 24th February, 2011 at 7:56 pm  

    For those interested in the fabricated case of racism brought against me by Operation Black Vote and a corrupt police officer from the laughingly called ” Community Safety Unit” at Limehouse Police Station in East London the place to be is court 14 at Snaresbrook tomorrow, not before 11.45!

    Although I have spent more than four decades in the anti fascist movement I now face up to seven years in prison because of the political connections of OBV, an organisation that I have continually exposed as being involved in the financial frauds of Lee Jasper and Ken Livingstone.

    The two complainants, Simon Woolley and Ashok Vishnamathan have been exposed by me on the internet as thieves from the public purse, white haters and anti semites.

    They found a corrupt police officer by the name of Rossitor who has fabricated evidence against me advance his career, I hope to see him sacked from the Met and the OBV crooks sent to prison, in my place, for perjury.

    I will be conducting a press conference after the case tomorrow at the Eagle pub almost opposite the court where I will be revealing previously unseen documents which link Livingstone, Jsper and OBV to the disappearance of loadsamoney that even Andrew Gilligan hasn’t found. See you all there.

  16. Ali Bongo — on 24th February, 2011 at 8:33 pm  

    I occasionally bash my Bishop. Does that make me a fundamentalist Muslim?…

  17. KJB — on 24th February, 2011 at 8:54 pm  

    Bloody hell, I’m in full agreement with platinum! Good on you Kismet, although what you say about them not believing you is seriously depressing.

    The point platinum made about the victims’ lives AFTER action is taken is very important – all of them will be coming from very controlling families, which will make it even more difficult for them to adjust if tough action is taken against their parents. Not only will they face family and community backlash for it, but in many cases, they will be very emotionally vulnerable (probably filled with guilt and shame). That doesn’t mean action shouldn’t be taken, but I would imagine it is the major concern of victims and biggest obstacle to taking harsher measures against the criminals.

    My parents have never, and would never, go this far, and I struggled for years with guilt and shame at having diverged from their beliefs and ideologies. I dread to think what it must be like for a teenager much less rebellious than I, facing a greater risk just to be able to choose who and when they marry.

  18. MaidMarian — on 24th February, 2011 at 9:38 pm  

    Rumbold –

    ‘And what Platinum was saying was that these marriages are sued in support of a visa.’ [Presumably that should have been, 'pursued.']

    Maybe, though I’d be interested in how far this ia about the visa relative to other things identified on this thread. And even so, the visa is by no stretch guaranteed.

    ‘But often in this country the girls (and boys) are married off as a way to control them, as their relatives fear they are losing their grip on them.’

    I don’t doubt it. What I am getting at though is that this is a very different point to abuses of the visa system. And it might be worth remembering there that visas are not even a factor in all forced marriages.

    ‘I had a chat with someone from the FMU last year, and they said that although the system had got better, it can still be quite ad hoc.’

    Interesting. Clearly they are not being dismissive about the concerns here.

    More widely though Rumbold, please can you in these articles stop giving the impression that marriage = visa. A great many of us go through the marriage visa system in good faith – marriages to people from overseas are not always about the visa, however much the internet commentariat says it.

    And a far more interesting article is about the Surrinder Singh judgment, but that is for another day….

  19. douglas clark — on 24th February, 2011 at 10:51 pm  

    MaidMarian,

    AFAIK Rumbold has never equated marriage = visa.

    He has, contrarywise, said that any form of forced marriage is unacceptable. That is his point and I agree with it. Don’t you?

    A great many of us go through the marriage visa system in good faith – marriages to people from overseas are not always about the visa, however much the internet commentariat says it.

    That sounds like a cri de coeur. I have no desire to stop love in favour of border controls so tell us the story. It is certainly not what Rumbold is talking about. Indeed it is, indeed, the exact opposite. Rumbold is saying that forced marriages are wrong. He has had nothing to say about love.

    Could you please fall off the odd fence that you have constructed and tell us – is forced marriage wrong or not?

    A clear statement of principle cannot be beyond you?

  20. persephone — on 24th February, 2011 at 11:02 pm  

    In the Dr Humarya Abedin case it talks about how the psychiatric hospital in Bangladesh had kept her and others – what happened to the hospital – was action taken against it?

  21. Rumbold — on 25th February, 2011 at 8:48 am  

    Thanks Douglas.

    I don’t know Persephone.

    MaidMarian:

    Sorry, I am still confused. Where in the article did I say that if you get married you get a visa?

  22. cjcjc — on 25th February, 2011 at 9:33 am  

    pete – it is not I doing the bashing.

    What is preventing schools from doing what appears to be their legal obligation?

    It is fear of something, isn’t it?
    Whether of damaging “cohesion” or something more serious…

  23. Cauldron — on 25th February, 2011 at 4:41 pm  

    12 – blame it on lazy journalist labelling rather than Muslim bashing. One doesn’t read many stories of Indonesians or Malaysians misbehaving in the UK. There does, however, seem to be a persistent problem with the Pakistani diaspora underperforming almost every other cultural group on almost every relevant measure – education levels, labour force participation, forced marriages, postal vote rigging, heroin smuggling, grooming, terrorism etc. – despite having arrived in the UK a lot longer earlier than, say, the Bangladeshis.

    Platinum786 is spot on – it would be more constructive for the Pakistani community to be held accountable and to fess up to its own issues rather than constantly seeking to blame others.

  24. platinum786 — on 25th February, 2011 at 8:25 pm  

    ^^^Thats not what i said. Firstly it’s not a Pakistani only problem, but in the UK you will see more cases of it in Pakistani’s than others, due to the number of us there are here compared to other ethnic groups who
    have the same problem.

    Secondly, I said we need to get cooperation from the
    Pakistani authorities to help crack down on people involved in the Pakistani end of this issue.

    As a community as a whole, nobody condones this, but it happens, there are people who choose to abuse their own offspring in such a manner. Like any crime that occurs in any society, its not advocated or tolerated by society, but it happens. even in Pakistan if couples are getting married by force and they approach the police, they get help, but likewise in Pakistan as in the UK there are people who abuse the law.

    Lets not blame the Pakistani community.

  25. Kismet Hardy — on 25th February, 2011 at 9:50 pm  

    Gotta say cauldron, the dig at pakistanis is cheap (apropos of nothing, your example of ‘say bangladeshis’ is misinformed too. bengalis came here first, the lascars, bangladesh wasn’t born till 1971 but the people there were still bengalis)

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