Figures collated from Scottish agencies, who support victims of forced marriage, estimate that almost 20% of the 59 people who contacted them in 2011/12 in fear of being forced to marry were under 18 years of age. Those seeking help included both boys and girls and agencies believe that these figures may just be the tip of the iceberg, with many victims often too scared to speak out.
This shows that forced marriage is a very real issue affecting young people in Scotland and it is important that they know how they can get help. In November 2011, legislation came into force in Scotland to protect those affected by forced marriage. The Forced Marriage etc. (Protection and Jurisdiction) (Scotland) Act 2011 provides civil remedies for those at risk of forced marriage and those who have already been forced into marriage.
Teachers and education professionals therefore play an important role in recognising potential victims of forced marriage and in signposting them appropriately to ensure that they receive the right kind of help they need.
With this in mind, a forced marriage information resource is being launched this month for those working with young people in Scotland. A Glow TV event has been scheduled for Monday 18th March at 4pm to give education professionals the chance to discuss the issues which surround forced marriage and how they can help those in their care who they are worried might be affected. The Glow TV event is appropriate for all education practitioners.
To help education practitioners understand the legislation and how their work might be impacted by forced marriage, a panel of experts, including a forced marriage survivor, will be present to answer questions on the issue such as:
• What is a forced marriage?
• Are many young people in Scotland being forced to marry?
• How does the law in Scotland to help those in a forced marriage or under threat of one?
• How can education professionals help any young person in their care that they are worried might be affected by forced marriage?