Archive for the ‘Forced Marriage’ Category

Sharia law review recommends civil marriage requirement for Muslim couples

Muslim couples should be legally required to have a civil marriage in addition to an Islamic ceremony, a government-ordered review of Sharia law has concluded.

The measure would mean more women had protection under family law and would face “less discriminatory practices”, according to the independent assessment.

It also called for regulation of Sharia councils, which deal with aspects of Islamic law, but the proposal was immediately dismissed by the Government.

As home secretary, Theresa May launched the review to explore whether Sharia law was being misused or applied in a way that was incompatible with domestic law in England and Wales.

A report detailing the findings published on Thursday said the vast majority of people using Sharia councils were women seeking an Islamic divorce.

Examples of “bad practice” included inappropriate questioning on personal relationship matters and women being invited to make concessions to their husbands in order to secure a divorce.

In one instance a forced marriage victim was asked to attend a council at the same time as her family, according to the report.

https://www.aol.co.uk/news/2018/02/01/sharia-law-review-recommends-civil-marriage-requirement-for-musl/

Honour violence and forced marriage crimes ‘go unpunished in London’

Hundreds of honour violence and forced marriage crimes are going unpunished in London, according to new figures.

Data shows that police recorded 759 honour violence crimes and 265 forced marriages in the capital between 2015 and 2017 – but just 138 people were charged with offences.

The statistics also show that prosecution rates for both crimes have fallen in the past three years.

Charities and campaigners today said the figures were worrying when nationally statistics showed the number of women coming forward to make allegations was rising.

Diana Nammi, executive director of the Iranian & Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation, which provides refuge for victims, said : “What makes it so alarming is that figures that we obtained through freedom of information requests show that, at the same time, since the criminalisation of forced marriage in 2014, many more people at risk than ever before are coming forward for help.

“As “honour” based violence is perpetrated by the victim’s own family and community there is a lot of pressure on victims to drop cases and too often justice is not seen. “London must not be a safe haven for perpetrators of these horrific, damaging crimes. We need to see much more action from the Mayor of London to tackle “honour” based violence and his priority must be to fund women’s rights organisations like IKWRO who are best placed to support victims and survivors who courageously come forward.”

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/honour-violence-and-forced-marriage-crimes-go-unpunished-in-london-a3749331.html

Forced marriages support

Forced marriage is a hidden crime that’s on the rise, with recent figures showing an increase of 20% over the last two years.

In 2016 alone, there were 1428 reported cases across the UK, with more than one in ten of these taking place in the North West – making it one of the top three worst areas.

If you need help leaving a marriage you’ve been forced into, or you’re trying to stop a forced marriage, visit the following Government website: https://www.gov.uk/stop-forced-marriage

A survivor’s handbook with details of organisations that can provide help and advice, is available online.

http://www.itv.com/news/granada/2018-01-22/forced-marriages-support/

Couple admit illegally trying to take their children abroad after being caught at airport

Two parents have admitted trying to taking their children out of the UK in the face of a court order.

The man and woman from Teesside, who cannot be named for legal reasons, previously denied four charges of flouting a forced marriage protection order.

They were to stand trial at Teesside Crown Court this week.

But after lengthy discussions behind the scenes and a judge’s indication that the pair would not be jailed, they pleaded guilty.

The couple admitted breaching the order by “attempting to remove (the children) from the jurisdiction of England and Wales”.

They were stopped at the departure gate at Newcastle Airport on August 5, 2016.

It was alleged they tried to board a flight to Dubai with their children aged four to 15, with a connection flight booked to Islamabad in Pakistan.

The forced marriage protection order was imposed at Middlesbrough County Court in January 2016.

Such orders are imposed to prevent forced marriages or protect people in a forced marriage.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, told them at an earlier hearing: “The prosecution case is that you knew perfectly well that you were not to take the children out of the country, for their safety, for their welfare.”

This week, the court heard the couple’s claims that they misunderstood or were misguided, thinking a social worker had indicated that it would be OK to take the children on holiday.

http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/couple-admit-illegally-trying-take-14137335

Sue Mountstevens to represent PCCs nationally on work to tackle ‘honour’-based abuse

Raising awareness of and tackling so-called ‘honour’ crimes will be the focus of Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens, in representing PCCs nationally on honour-based abuse, forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM).

Throughout her time as PCC, Ms Mountstevens has been a fierce advocate for survivors of FGM and was asked to submit evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee for their ‘FGM:  The case for a national action plan’.  The PCC will now expand on this work by bringing new focus to tackling ‘honour’ crimes, including forced marriage.

Honour-based abuse (HBA) is any practice used to control behaviour within families to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or ‘honour’. It is a violation of human rights and is a serious crime.

Examples of HBA includes intimidation, rape, assault, abduction, domestic abuse, physical, sexual, financial, emotional or psychological abuse, forced marriage (FM) – where you’re not given a choice if you want to marry a person – and murder.

PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “’Honour’-based abuse and forced marriage is a particularly difficult crime to tackle as it tends to happen behind closed doors and victims are terrified of coming forward.  Victims often worry about what will happen to their family if they disclose the abuse they’re suffering and many don’t want to see their families prosecuted.”

On behalf of PCCs across the country, Ms Mountstevens will act as a voice for victims and survivors, aiming to raise awareness of HBA, working closely with national partners to ensure freedom of choice remains a protected entity.

This work will aim to inform the PCC when joining representatives from across the country, at regular meetings of the So Called ‘Honour’-Based Violence Roundtable, hosted by the Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Sarah Newton MP.

https://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/newsroom/2017/12/sue-mountstevens-to-represent-pccs-nationally-on-work-to-tackle-%E2%80%98honour%E2%80%99-based-abuse/

Only 5% of ‘honour’ crimes reported to police are referred to CPS

Charity says police in the UK are failing the victims of ‘honour’ based violence, forced marriage and FGM

The police are failing the victims of “honour” crimes, with just 5% of reported cases being referred to the Crown Prosecution Service, a leading charity has warned.

The number of cases of “honour” based violence, forced marriage and FGM reported to the police has increased by 53% since 2014, figures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show.

However, despite the rise in reporting, the volume of cases referred to the CPS for a charging decision is the lowest it has been for five years.

“More victims of ‘honour’ based violence are coming forward to the police than ever before but worryingly the evidence suggests those seeking justice are being failed by the system,” said Diana Nammi, the executive director of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/nov/07/only-5-of-honour-crimes-reported-to-police-are-referred-to-cps

As Africa tackles child marriage, young survivors speak out

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) – Sitting on the floor and dressed in black, the 15-year-old held her baby as panicked tears welled in her eyes. Her husband, two decades her senior, could kill her if he found out she was telling her story, she said.

She was married at age 13 in the West African nation of Guinea because her parents feared she could harm her marriage prospects by having premarital sex. At the time, she said, she had not even developed breasts.

“I was given to a man that I didn’t choose before my body was even ready to have sex,” she said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. “I couldn’t even move for a week afterward because I was swollen and bleeding.”

Child marriage remains deeply entrenched in West and Central Africa, home to six of the 10 countries with the highest rates in the world. Rights groups and political and religious leaders from across the region gathered in Senegal this past week to seek ways to curb the practice.

Outspoken survivors of child marriage urged them on.

More than half of girls in Guinea are married before age 18. While the country recently banned marriage for those under that age, observers say the practice remains widespread. Some girls enter arranged marriages during times of insecurity or when families are under economic strain.

“This is a complex issue driven by poverty, cultural norms and families trying to do the best for their children,” said Save The Children International CEO Helle Thorning-Schmidt. “But until we break the cycle where the only way a girl can give her family honor is to marry and have children, then we will not change this.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-5026499/As-Africa-tackles-child-marriage-young-survivors-speak-out.html

 

We Talked to Students Whose Families Want Them in Arranged Marriages

our parents and Tinder are two things that should never be combined. But that’s what arranged marriages are like. Instead of an app, it’s your parents suggesting who you should hook up with (till death do you part, though).

Let’s clear up that arranged marriages aren’t necessarily forced marriages. Arranged marriages feel like your parents are holding your hand when you decide whether or not you want to swipe right. Some parents grip a little firmer than others. A forced marriage is when they grab the phone out of your hands and swipe for you. But that’s illegal in Canada, the United States, and a bunch of countries in Europe.

VICE: How have your parents tried to set you up?
Sokalan: Ever since I was a kid, my parents would do this thing where when I would say, “I want to be an astronaut,” and ten years later they would turn that into, “You said you wanted to study rocket science.” They did that with marriage, too. They would ask me if I like girls, and obviously, I was really young so I would be like “Gross, no.” So they would say, “OK, so we’ll pick your wife. Is that OK?” and being really young, I was like, “Yeah, sure.” Ten years down the line, that turned into, “You agreed to this. You have to go through with it.” So this summer, my parents want me to go back to Sri Lanka to meet some people. “People” being the keyword. They have a whole roster of girls laid out for me.

Fifth of CPS cases are alleged sex crimes or domestic abuse

Alleged sex crimes and domestic abuse offences now account for one in five cases pursued by the Crown Prosecution Service, it has been revealed.

They made up nearly 20% of the organisation’s caseload in 2016-17, compared with less than a tenth a decade ago after a huge surge in the categories, new figures show.

The rise tallies with a sharp jump in reports of sexual abuse to police seen in recent years in the wake of high-profile investigations launched after the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Authorities are also mounting increasing numbers of investigations involving the internet, including child sexual abuse, harassment and revenge pornography cases.

An in-depth report from the CPS details how more defendants than ever before are being prosecuted for sexual offences in England and Wales. The number of rape prosecutions completed rose from 4,643 in 2015-16 to a record 5,190 in 2016-17.

Prosecutions for sexual offences excluding rape also reached a new peak of 13,490 in the latest financial year. Together with domestic abuse cases, the alleged crimes made up 19.3% of the CPS’s caseload, compared with 7.1% a decade ago.

There were year-on-year falls in prosecutions for “honour-based” violence and forced marriage, the report shows, while there were no prosecutions for female genital mutilation.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/oct/10/fifth-of-cps-cases-are-alleged-sex-crimes-or-domestic-abuse

Latest figures reveal more than 40 million people are living in slavery

Forced marriage is included for first time in worldwide statistics that show ‘money and debt’ to be at the heart of the exploitation

An estimated 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery in 2016, a quarter of them children, according to new global slavery statistics released today.

The figures, from the UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation, show 24.9 million people across the world were trapped in forced labour and 15.4 million in forced marriage last year. Children account for 10 million of the overall 40.3m total.

The 2017 Estimates of Modern Slavery report calculates that of 24.9 million victims of forced labour, 16 million are thought to be in the private economy, 4.8 million in forced sexual exploitation and 4.1 million in state-sponsored forced labour including mandatory military conscription and agricultural work.

“What is startling about these new estimates is the sheer scale of the modern slave trade and the fact that we have 40 million people across the world in some form of modern slavery is simply not acceptable,” said Fiona David, executive director of global research at the Walk Free Foundation.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/sep/19/latest-figures-reveal-more-than-40-million-people-are-living-in-slavery

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