Housing officers, police forces, health, social care and legal professionals can now turn to an online tool developed by the government’s ‘Forced Marriage Unit’ (FMU) for assistance in tackling cases of forced marriage, reported Publicservice.co.uk. Through the use of real life stories, the web-based resource called ‘Forced Marriage E-learning’ will provide advice and information on how to identify cases of forced marriage and direct appropriate support, the source added.
“Front line professionals may not only have one chance to help someone at risk of forced marriage, and making the wrong move could have devastating results”, the website quoted joint head of the FMU, Olaf Henricson-Bell, saying:
“Our new online resource is a step-by-step guide on how to deal with forced marriage cases and reach a positive outcome. We encourage people to make the most of this tool in the run up to the summer holidays which is when we see an increase in cases of forced marriage.”
In addition to providing professional guidance, FMU also provides direct support to victims, thereby being described as the ‘Government’s specialist one-stop-shop for forced marriage’, according to Family Law Week. The source reported a staggering 1,682 calls or emails to the unit’s helpline in 2009 about potential cases of forced marriage, and the new online resource will only strengthen the unit’s efforts.
The role of education professionals in protecting victims of forced marraige has been stressed in Swindon, as a majority of these victims are still in school, reported the Swindon Advertiser.
Shaminder Ubhi, director of anti-abuse organization ‘The Ashiana Network’, was quoted by Family Law Week saying: “Given that many of the men and women forced into marriage are of school age, the need to raise awareness of this issue amongst professionals working with young people is essential. This innovative resource will equip them with the skills they need to offer appropriate support to victims”.