Webinar – Who’s Speaking Up, or Falling Silent? Reflections From Advocates and Helplines on the Impact of Forced Marriage Criminalization in the U.K.

During this webinar, a panel including both U.K. government and NGO service providers and advocates shared their reflections on the impact that criminalizing forced marriage has had since 2014. Topics discussed included how criminalization has impacted survivor safety and decision making, community awareness and attitudes, and professionals’ knowledge of and responsiveness to forced marriage cases.

 

Presenters included:

 

Marai Larasi, the Executive Director of Imkaan, a U.K.-based organization dedicated to addressing violence against Black, Asian, minority ethnic, and refugee women and girls. She has worked in the ending violence against women and girls (VAWG) field for over two decades and has developed and led cutting edge services and programs which address violence against marginalized women and girls.

 

Priya Chopra, the Chief Executive of Saheli, a Manchester, U.K.-based organization working to assist and protect immigrant victims of violence. Saheli worked with the U.K. government to develop multi-agency guidelines for frontline professionals on how to respond to forced marriage cases. Saheli also collaborates with community partners to document and report on incidences of gender-based violence and survivors’ willingness and ability to access services and help from the authorities.

 

Chaz Akoshile, the joint head of the U.K. Forced Marriage Unit (FMU), a joint Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Home Office Unit.  The FMU operates a public helpline, providing confidential advice and support to victims and professionals with responsibility for safeguarding children and protecting adults from the abuses associated with forced marriage. Chaz worked extensively to ensure that the forced marriage legislative proposals in England and Wales successfully completed their parliamentary passage – the new offenses were introduced in June 2014.

 

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