Nick McCarthy, “Revealed: Police secure court orders to protect victims of forced marriage,” Birmingham Mail (January 4, 2017). This article shares data on forced marriage prosecutions and protection orders from the West Midlands police in the UK. While they have received frequent requests for help related to forced marriage and have been able to obtain forced marriage protection orders, criminal prosecution has been challenging due to victims’ unwillingness to pursue charges against their family. Read More.
Brian Stieglitz, “Former Pakistani child bride shares story with students,” Lynbrook Herald (January 5, 2017). This article tells the story of forced marriage survivor Naila Amin, who was forced into marriage overseas at age 15. After managing to escape and returning to the United States, Naila founded her own non-profit and she hopes to open a shelter for young women facing forced marriage. Read more.
Matthew Bell, “Germany is taking a harder look at child marriage,” Jefferson Public Radio (January 6, 2017). German authorities are considering legislation to increase the minimum age of marriage, which currently allows family courts to grant permission to marry for minors aged 16 and 17. The article also tells the story of survivor advocate, Irina Bedawi, who has written a book about her experience of being forced into marriage at age 16 in Germany. Read more.
Frances Perraudin, “FCO reviews policy of making forced marriage victims pay for flights,” The Guardian (January 11, 2017). The United Kingdom’s Foreign Office has announced that it will be reviewing its policy requiring victims of forced marriage overseas to repay the cost of their repatriation to the government. This move was announced after advocates from Muslim Women’s Network raised concerns about a 17 year old survivor who was forced to sign a loan agreement and surrender her passport in order to return to the U.K. Read here.
Australian Associated Press, “Muslim cleric accused of performing forced marriage of child bride sacked,” The Guardian (January 16, 2017). A cleric from Melbourne, Australia who allegedly performed a forced marriage of a minor has been removed from his post and has had his marriage license revoked. The Imam is charged with conduct that caused a minor to enter into a forced marriage. In response, the Board of Imams Victoria issued a statement condemning forced and child marriages. Read here.
May Bulman, “Denmark bans marriage for under-18s after report suggests dozens of asylum seeking teens arriving with spouses,” The Independent (January 20, 2017). The Danish parliament has approved a bill prohibiting marriage under the age of 18 after a report revealed last year that there were several minors in the Danish asylum system who have spouses or registered partners. The bill also states that marriages of minors which took place abroad will be recognized in Denmark, with exceptions for those who can provide a “compelling argument” for their marriage. A number of legal experts and human rights groups in Denmark have criticized the new legislation, saying it doesn’t take the child’s best interest into consideration. Read more.
Ameila Pang, “Forced Marriage of Children Happens in America, Too” Truthdig (January 25, 2017). This article tells the story of forced marriage survivor, Naila Amin, and shares statistics from the Tahirih Justice Center demonstrating that many individuals in similar situations are not coming to the attention of service providers or receiving adequate protection. The article also includes information about U.S. age of marriage laws which fail to protect minors from forced marriage and statistics from Unchained at Last on child marriage in the United States. Read More.
“Forced Marriage” BBC – The Conversation (January 30, 2017). This radio piece features an interview with Jasvinder Sanghera from the U.K., and Fraidy Reiss from New Jersey. Both Sanghera and Reiss are survivors of forced marriage who have gone on to found their own organizations dedicated to serving survivors and raising awareness about forced marriage. Listen here.
Louise Aitken, “Training to recognise women forced into marriage in North-east” Evening Express (February 2, 2017). Police officers, teachers and mental health workers in Scotland are to receive mandatory training on how to spot survivors of forced marriage after a four-year study conducted by the Scottish Government found the need for an increase in the provision of services. The recommendation stems from information gathered on cases of forced marriage in six areas across the country. During that time, almost 200 cases were reported. Read More.
“No child brides allowed in N.J., Senate panel says” NJ (Feb 7, 2017). The New Jersey state Senate committee has approved a bill increasing the age of marriage to age 18. If passed, the bill would make New Jersey the first state in the nation to remove all exceptions to the law that says people must be 18 years old to get married. Currently, New Jersey law allows 16 and 17 year-olds to marry with parental consent, and those under 16 to marry with judicial approval. Read more.
Will Schmidt, “Missouri lawmakers consider bill to raise marriage age from 15 to 17” Springfield News (Feb. 8, 2017). In Missouri, legislation has been proposed to increase the minimum age of minors able to marry with parental consent from age 15 to age 17. Statistics show that 800 16-17 year olds and 100 15 year olds were married in Missouri since 2012. Read More.
Fraidy Reiss, “Why does the US still let 12-year-old girls get married?” Washington Post (February 10, 2017). Unchained At Last, a non-profit organization, founded to help women resist or escape forced marriage in the United States, found that in 38 states, more than 167,000 children were married mostly to men 18 or older. Despite these numbers, and despite the documented consequences of early marriages, some state lawmakers have resisted passing legislation to end child marriage because they fear that such measures may unlawfully stifle religious freedom. Read More.
Samra Zafar, “The Good Wife,” Toronto Life (February 17, 2017). This article shares the first-person account of Canadian forced marriage survivor Samra Zafar. After leaving her abusive husband, Zafar won a competitive scholarship to continue her graduate studies and founded a non-profit, Brave Beginnings. Read here.
Frances Perraudin, “UK drops repatriation charges for under-18s in trouble abroad,” The Guardian (March 3, 2017). The UK government has announced a change in policy which will mean that those under the age of 18 will no longer be required to repay the cost of their repatriation if facing a forced marriage overseas. Real more.
Lin Taylor, “Rise in reports of forced marriage in UK just ‘tip of the iceberg’: activists,” Reuters (March 9, 2017). New data released by the Forced Marriage Unit in the UK shows an increase in the number of reported cases of forced marriage. Of the 1,400 cases reported, about a quarter involved children under 18 and most involved individuals taken overseas. Advocates stated that the statistics show increased awareness and a willingness to report, though the issue remains largely hidden. Read More.
Alison Thoet, “New Jersey just became the first state to completely ban child marriage,” PBS (March 14, 2017). In New Jersey, legislators have passed the first bill eliminating marriage for anyone under the age of 18 without exception. The legislation is waiting to be signed into law by the governor, and several other states are undertaking similar efforts to address the exceptions allowing child marriage to continue in the United States. Advocates from Tahirih Justice Center, Unchained at Last, and Girls Not Brides are quoted. Read More.
Diana Farid, “How Could I Help This Patient,” MD Magazine (March 20, 2017). A doctor writes about her experience serving a young woman who was highly monitored and isolated within her marriage. She writes about her experience in a poem called “Offline.” Read More.
David Churchill, “Revealed: girl aged six among victims of ‘honour crime’ in London” Evening Standard (April 7th, 2017). Over the past five years, reports of “honour” violence have soared more than 40 per cent with 1,081 made to Scotland Yard, and those relating to forced marriages doubled in the same period, with 367 in total. Women and girls overwhelmingly form the majority of reported victims, with more than half coming from Asian backgrounds. Read More.
Trang Chu Minh, “Ending child marriage in the US, one state at a time” Thomas Reuters Foundation News (April 7th, 2017). New Jersey is poised to become the first US state to ban marriage before 18 in the coming months ahead of a list of close followers. While most US states set 18 as the minimum age for marriage, exceptions in every jurisdiction exist which allow children younger to wed, typically with parental consent or judicial approval. As a result of such legal loopholes, more than 167,000 children as young as 12 were married in 38 states in the US between 2000 and 2010. Read more.
Richard Vaughan, “Teachers want more training to spot signs of ‘honour-based abuse’” The Essential Daily Briefing (April 11th, 2017). The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) voted in favour of giving their members better training and guidance to help them to recognise and report the practices to the authorities. It came as the ATL published a small survey, revealing that while more than 70 percent of respondents said they could spot FGM, just 48.2 per cent said they had been trained to deal with forced marriage. Read more.
Nicholas Jones, “New legislation aims to protect teenagers from forced marriage” Newstalk (April 13th 2017). In New Zealand, a bill designed to protect teenagers from forced marriages will go before Parliament soon. Currently in the country 16- and 17-year-olds are allowed to marry with parental consent. This bill would change the consent requirements and require an application to be lodged to the court and the consent of a Family Court judge. The bill makes it very clear that forced marriage is not an arranged marriage where parents take a leading role in choosing a partner but ultimately the son or daughter has free choice. Read More.
Sian Norris, “The good side of a bad policy: Harsh migration law blocks forced marriages” Politics.Co.Uk (April 20th, 2017). The financial requirement for spousal visas has been heavily criticized since it was introduced in 2012 as it can prevent British citizens from bringing non-EU spouses into the country unless they earn £18,600 or more. While this may seem discriminatory, it has actually benefited women and girls facing forced marriage situations as very few 18-, 17- or 16-year-olds have the earning capacity to reach the required income threshold. Read More.
Ashitha Nagesh, “Thousands of girls in the UK are forced into marriages every year – here’s what you can do” Metro News (Apr 28th 2017). Between 5,000 and 8,000 cases of forced marriages occur in England every year, with nearly half of cases involving 16- to 25-year-old girls and women. Despite the prevalence of forced marriage in the UK, it is rarely discussed. Our Girl, a national forced marriage prevention and awareness campaign led by the Sharan Project, is looking to change that by calling on educational institutions to implement safeguarding practices. Read more.
Sara Tasneem, “Child Marriage Laws in CA Act as Loopholes that Allow for Statutory Rape” The Daily Californian (May 30th, 2017) In this op-ed, a Golden Gate University student describes how she was forced into a child marriage by her father. She argues that California state law, which permits minors to wed with parental consent, allows predators to marry and statutorily rape minors whose parents have forced them into marriage. Ms. Tasneem argues that to close this loophole, SB 273 must completely ban marriage to any person under age 18. Read more.