Forced marriage online guidance for healthcare professionals

GPs or practice nurses seeing a patient who could be party to a forced marriage now have somewhere to turn.

The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU), a joint Foreign and Commonwealth and Home Office venture, has launched online guidance on identifying and supporting forced marriage partners.

Health workers are shown warning signs of forced marriage, as well as scenarios with good outcomes.

Last year the FMU's helpline received 1,682 contacts about possible forced marriage.

Olaf Henricson-Bell, FMU joint head, said: ‘The run-up to the summer holidays [...] is when we see an increase in cases of forced marriage.'

Shaminder Ubhi, director of the Ashiana Network, a charity which supports women from the Asian, Turkish and Iranian communities, said that many males and females forced into marriage are schoolchildren. 15% of calls to the FMU involve males.

The guidance says: ‘There is no typical victim of forced marriage - it can happen to anyone. They may be under or over 18; some may have a disability; some may have young children; and some may be spouses from overseas.'

Call 020 7008 0151 between 9am-5pm Monday to Friday or email fmu@fco.gov.uk

Dhaka graduate Dr Humayra Abedin who wanted to train as a GP was returned to the UK in 2008 as one of the first cases under the Forced Marriage Act 2007 after being kidnapped and forced to marry in Bangladesh.

Click here for the e-guidance

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