New support for action on forced marriages

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Teachers, social workers and charity staff are to be given a new “learning resources pack” to help identify forced marriage between young people.

The resources pack, put together by the Glasgow Life charity group, in partnership with the Scottish Government, is to support a national campaign against forced marriage.

It is designed to help staff recognise early warning signs, highlight the consequences of the abuse of human rights and provide information to direct people for support.

Latest figures reveal that 83 calls were made to the Scottish Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline last year, of which a third were from men.

Three Forced Marriage Protection Orders have been taken out since the forced marriage legislation came into force in 2011, giving Scottish courts the power to issue orders, offering protection to those affected by forced marriage.

Support agencies also provided help and advice in 64 instances of forced marriage last year, an increase of five cases on 2011 figures.

The learning resources pack was launched by former victim Sameem Ali who was forced into marriage at the age of 13 and lived in Glasgow in her teens.

“It’s great to know the appropriate steps to safeguard victims of forced marriage are being taken in Scotland,” she said.

“It is imperative that awareness-raising activities, such as the creation and launch of this new resource, continue to highlight the issue of forced marriage and that all agencies responsible for the well-being of young people work together in order to protect them from this terrible fate.”

Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “Forced marriage has no place in 21st-century Scotland and we need to make sure that those affected by forced marriage receive the help and support they need. This learning resource pack will help teachers, youth workers and staff in the voluntary sector.”