Additional training for frontline staff to tackle forced marriages
Social Justice and Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant has invited front line staff from criminal justice, health, education and social services to attend a bespoke training course on handling cases of forced marriage.
The Welsh Assembly Government is committed to tackling all forms of violence against women and domestic abuse. ‘The Right to be Safe’ strategy launched in March this year outlines how the identification and response to forced marriage will be improved through increased provision of awareness training.
Forced marriage remains a largely unseen problem in Wales. However, in 2008 the Forced Marriage Unit received over 1,600 calls to its helpline on suspected incidences of forced marriage, and since the implementation of Forced Marriage Protection Orders (FMPOs) in 2009, 86 FMPOs were recorded across the UK.
Working in partnership with the South Wales Police, the Henna Foundation and Black Association Women Step Out (BAWSO), the training will provide guidance for dealing with cases of forced marriage. Funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, the training programme offers practical advice and support which may lead to earlier identification and intervention in cases of forced marriage.
Early intervention can have the immediate benefit of reduced violence and abuse against adults, children and young people as well as protecting victims from developing longer term problems such as substance misuse or depression. Professionals therefore need to be able to recognise the signs, assess the level of risk and respond quickly and appropriately to ensure a consistent safe response to victims across Wales.
Carl Sargeant said: “Forced marriage is an unacceptable breach of human rights, causing fear and misery for the victims.
“This training programme has been carefully developed with help of specialists in this area. It will allow frontline professionals such as teachers, doctors and social workers to develop a better understanding of issues surrounding forced marriage, helping them to identify forced marriages and know how to intervene quickly and safely.”