|Title:||Zero Tolerance: A New Direction in Tackling Forced Marriage and ‘Honour’ Based Violence|
|Date:||Wednesday 30th May 2012|
|Time:||10.15am – 4.30pm|
|Venue:||Broadway House, Westminster|
Register your place
|Lynne Townley, Crown Advocate, Crown Prosecution Service|
|Amerdeep Somal, Commissioner, Independent Police Complaints Commission|
|Max Wind-Cowie, Author, Ending Forced Marriage Report, Demos|
|Dr Aisha Gill, Reader in Criminology, Roehampton University|
|Cris McCurley, Partner, Family Department, Ben Hoare Bell LLP and former Chair, Karma Nirvana|
In 2011, the Forced Marriage Unit helped deal with approximately 1500 cases of which 78% were female, 22% male and 29% involved minors. Research has revealed that around 2800 incidences of ‘honour’ based violence were reported to the police in 2010 and it is estimated that there are 10 to 12 ‘honour’ killings a year. There is often a relationship between forced marriages (FM) and ‘honour’ based violence (HBV), though HBV can occur where there is no evidence of forced marriage, and FM can be motivated by reasons other than honour.
Both forced marriages and ‘honour’ based incidences happen across different communities and are not unique to the South Asian community as is widely assumed. Over the years the profile of forced marriage has risen and more is now being done to tackle it than ever before. Victims are increasingly recognising the warning signs and now have the confidence to come forward and seek help. This is illustrated by the rising number of applications for Forced Marriage Protection Orders, demand for which has been much higher than anticipated – doubts persist however over perceived inadequacies in the monitoring of compliance with an order after it was made.
In May 2011, the Home Affairs Select Committee published its Eighth Report of Session 2010-2012 on Forced Marriage, outlining the lack of progress in tackling forced marriage issues and making recommendations for action. In October 2011, the Prime Minister responded by announcing the Government’s intention to criminalise the breach of a FMPO, and also consult on making forced marriage a criminal offence.
The increasing numbers of reported cases of forced marriage and ‘honour’ based violence emphasise the urgent need for comprehensive action. Describing forced marriage as ‘the most grotesque example of a relationship that isn’t genuine’, the Government has outlined its intentions to tackle these issues and provide better support to victims not allowing perceived cultural sensitivities to hinder progress.
This timely symposium provides an invaluable opportunity to gain an understanding of the current legal framework and how a multi-agency approach can be strengthened, especially at the local level. The symposium will explore issues around prevention, the importance of specialist services and the greater role of education providers in ensuring better awareness and early intervention.
|09:30||Registration and Morning Refreshments|
|10:15||Chair’s Welcome and Introduction|
Panel Session One:
Combating Forced Marriage and ‘Honour’ Based Violence – The National Outlook
|11:15||Morning Coffee Break|
|11:30||Open Floor Discussion and Debate with Panel One|
Panel Session Two:
Strengthening Local Partnership Working to Raise Awareness and Safeguard Victims
|14:15||Afternoon Coffee Break|
|14:30||Open Floor Discussion and Debate with Panel Two|
|15:30||Chair’s Summary and Closing Comments|
“Forced marriage is little more than slavery. To force someone into marriage is completely wrong. And I strongly believe this is a problem we should not shy away from addressing. But I know that there is a worry that criminalisation could make it less likely that those at risk will come forward. So, as a first step, I am announcing today that we will criminalise the breach of FMPO … And I am also asking the Home Secretary to consult on making forcing someone to marry an offence in its own right…”
— Prime Minister, October 2011
“Forced marriage is a serious issue that affects some of the most vulnerable individuals in the UK…We believe the best way to deter people from forcing individuals into marriage is through criminalising forced marriage. Taking this bold step alongside providing a range of services supporting victims of violence and raising awareness in schools must be a priority for the Government. There should be zero tolerance of this harmful activity that ruins the lives of so many.”
— Chairman, Home Affairs Select Committee, May 2011