Guidance to GPs and nurses on forced marriage

Guidance to GPs and nurses on treating female patients who may be the victims of forced marriage has been issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

By Joe Lepper

The guidance details typical health problems faced by victims, including depression, substance misuse and self-harming behaviour such as anorexia and cutting.

The document, called Multi-Agency Practice Guidelines: Handling cases of forced marriage, also urges health professionals to ensure they treat patients in a forced marriage as individuals and act as an advocate for their care.

This includes helping them access information and support from agencies such as social services.

An appointment with a GP or practice nurse may be the only opportunity some victims have to tell someone about their situation, the document says.

Questions GPs and nurses are encouraged to ask victims are, ‘how are things at home', and ‘can you chose what you want to do and when?'

The Nursing and Midwifery Council's director of standards and registrations Roger Thompson said: ‘Nurses and midwives often work as part of a multi disciplinary team and this document will support them, and other health and social care professionals to work together more effectively to identify and help those who are most vulnerable.'


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