It’s thought that around 5,000 to 8,000 cases of forced marriages happen in England every year.
Almost half the cases involve 16 to 25-year-old girls and women, but it’s those who are still in education that are at the greatest risk. People with learning difficulties are also incredibly vulnerable.
But despite it being so prevalent in this country, people very rarely discuss it.
One charity is looking to change that, by calling on educational institutions to implement mandatory safeguarding practices.
Our Girl, a national forced marriage prevention and awareness campaign led by the Sharan Project, works with colleges and universities to train staff to notice the signs of forced marriage.
Young people are at the tipping point of being forced to marry, particularly where families will place conditions on their child to go to college or university in exchange for them marrying a person of the family’s choice upon completion or graduation,’ Polly Harrar, founder of the Sharan Project, said.
‘We have seen an increase in requests for support within schools, colleges and universities where no policies or training exists to support young people at risk or affected by forced marriage, and have seen some significant progress being made from the institutes we work with in addressing these issues.’