During this webinar, the Forced Marriage Initiative provides tips for hotline advocates who encounter cases of forced marriage in their work.
Forced marriage is a significant, yet hidden problem in the United States that impacts individuals of every socioeconomic status, ethnic, religious and cultural background. More often than not, forced marriage is just one part of a spectrum of other harms that an individual who is forced to marry may face in their lifetime. In fact, forced marriage can often lurk behind the issues that first present themselves including mental health concerns, physical and psychological abuse, sexual assault and rape. Advocates at the National, State, and Local Hotline level are on the front lines of victim response and can often be the first point of contact for individuals at risk and survivors of forced marriage seeking assistance and support.
This webinar features Lisa V. Martin, Assistant Professor at University of South Carolina’s School of Law. Professor Martin is the author of Restraining Forced Marriage, the first report to undertake a detailed evaluation of the viability of civil protection orders to address forced marriage in the United States.
Although protection orders show promise as a tool to prevent forced marriage in many states, the nuances of current legal standards defining what kinds of abuse – and by whom – are covered severely limits the practical utility of most civil protection orders for those without expert representation. To enhance the accessibility of protection orders in a forced marriage context, Martin recommends that states create a new forced marriage protection order to address the specific needs of those facing this problem.
This webinar features Laura Vidal, a Social Worker with a Masters in Human Rights Law and Policy from Sydney, Australia. Drawing on her experience of developing and delivering Australia’s only survivor advocates program for victims of human trafficking and slavery (including forced marriage) —The Freedom Advocates Project— Laura Vidal presented key guidelines for engaging survivors in equal and equitable advocacy to influence policy development and service delivery. Opening authentic and equitable space for survivors’ voices to be heard is essential in the movement to end violence against women, and this webinar provides a roadmap for building principled survivor engagement opportunities and programs. This webinar is appropriate for all advocates working in the field of gender-based violence and human trafficking, including those in direct service and public policy advocacy on the local, state and federal level.
During this webinar, two American child marriage survivors share their stories, highlighting the vulnerabilities and challenges they faced. Experts from the Tahirih Justice Center and Greater Boston Legal Services also share guidance on:
- Red flags and warning signs of forced marriage
- Collaborative strategies to assist minors to avoid or delay a forced marriage
- Creative legal approaches to preventing the forced marriage of minors
- Privacy protection and tech safety planning
- Preventing travel overseas if a forced marriage is imminent or suspected
This webinar was presented as part of the Forced Marriage Initiative’s Quarterly Webinar Series on December 12, 2016.
*This webinar is not publicly available. Please contact us at FMI@tahirih.org for more information.
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.
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.