Forced Marriage Awareness

Safeguarding Children Board

 

 

The Government describes Forced Marriage as:

A forced marriage is where one or both people do not (or in cases of people with learning disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and pressure or abuse is used. It is an appalling and indefensible practice and is recognised in the UK as a form of violence against women and men, domestic/child abuse and a serious abuse of human rights.

FM Summer Campaign

School holidays are a peak time for young people to be taken overseas and forced into marriage against their will.

 

The Force Marriage Unit Statistics from 2016 show they provided support to:

  • 371 cases (26%) involved victims below 18 years of age
  • 497 cases (34%) involved victims aged 18-25.

In 2016, the majority of cases 1,145 (80%) involved women victims, while 283 cases (20%) involved male victims.

This isn’t a London, Manchester, Birmingham problem, it is happening right here on our doorstep, in Suffolk.

The Government’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) uses Social Media to highlight issues. You can Follow them on Twitter at @FMU or on Facebook.

What is Forced Marriage?

Forced Marriage ImageThis is when a person faces physical pressure to marry (threats, physical violence or sexual violence) or emotional and psychological pressure (made to feel like you’re bringing shame on the family).  Forced marriage also has links to other forms of abuse such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Honour Based Violence (HBV).  These are crimes or incidents, which have or might have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community.

A person has the right to choose who they marry, when they marry, or if they marry at all. Victims of forced marriage commented:

“I didn’t want to get married, but felt pressure from my family”

“My mum said her health wasn’t good and she wanted to see me married – so I did it!”

“Don’t want to get married, but I’ll do it anyway, that is what my family want and its part of my culture & tradition”

“I want to marry my boyfriend/girlfriend, not one of my cousins or a stranger”

Television feature on Forced Marriage

Look East Mariam IssimdarBBC Look East reporter, Mariam Issimdar talked to one woman who went into hiding to escape being forced into marriage and who is still in hiding after 7 years. Mariam also interviewed Aneeta Prem from Freedom Charity and Bal Howard who is the former lead for Suffolk Police on Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence for Suffolk Police, whilst they were visiting a School in Bury St Edmunds to deliver forced marriage awareness sessions to young people at the school.

The film quoted that number of recorded forced marriage cases in East Anglia appears to be rising according to new government figures. Nationally in 2012 there were 1485 forced marriages cases, of which 29 were investigated in the region.  However in 2013 the national figure decreased to 1302, but the numbers in the East rose to 45.

Bal Howard mentioned in the interview that the increase in the East could possibly be due to the amount of work carried out in the East which may have led to increased reporting. Of the 50 cases Bal investigated, 50% were concerning forced marriage and 30% of those cases the victim was under 18.  Several of these cases have shown that it is sometimes a young male adult or brother, rather than the parents, that’s involved in forcing marriages.

Bal also talked about the seriousness of this issue (which in many cases is child abuse), many would have led to rape, and in extreme cases murder.  “This could be the tip of the iceberg and fears that the true numbers are in the thousands.”

Guidance for local authorities and relevant third parties:

What should teachers look out for?

Have you noticed me missingWho hasn’t come back to school after the summer holidays?  The loud lad in the class, what happened to him, why has he gone quiet?  Is a pupil in your school missing from education?  Where are they? What happened to them?

Did they say that grandparents were ill? Or did they say it was a cousins wedding?  Or did they say it was a cultural visit?

Is there is a drop in their performance and motivation or unexplained health problems (could possibly be a sign of child abuse).

Other signs could be that they are not allowed to do after school activities, not allowed westernised clothes/make-up/friends, terminology used by the young person like “I had an arranged marriage, I chose to go through with it”.

The young person may also start to truant from school (their only bit of freedom) and if you suspect this could be a result of force marriage, or any other kind of abuse, DO NOT send a letter home to the parents, this might put the young person at greater risk.  The young person may also stop taking part in physical education,  always being brought and taken from school by a family member. Someone may be watching them (like their siblings or cousins) during school time or they could be in a “secret relationship” which they have to hide from family members.  They may also own a ‘secret’ mobile phone.

In Suffolk if teachers and support staff suspect there could be a case of potential Forced Marriage then follow the Suffolk Local Safeguarding Children Board Procedures. More information is available from Suffolk Safeguarding Children Board.

A child at risk of forced marriage may also be at risk of honour based violence. Extreme caution should be taken in sharing information especially if honour based violence is suspected.

If you have concerns that a child is at risk contact a Social Care Manager at Children & Young Peoples Services via:

Office Hours call Customer First 0808 800 4005
Out of Hours Emergency Duty Service 0808 800 4005
Suffolk Constabulary Force Operations 01473 613500 (24hrs)
In an Emergency always call 999

If you have concerns that an adult is at risk contact Adult and Community Services:

Office hours call Customer First 0808 800 4005
Out of Hours Emergency Duty Service 01473 299669
Adult Safeguarding Team Online Referral Form
Suffolk Constabulary Force Operations Room 01473 613500 (24hrs)
In an Emergency always call 999 

What should I do if I have concerns?

Everyone has the right to choose who they marry and when they get married. If you are worried about a friend, relative or young person that you work with, here are 10 signs to watch out for:

FM At Risk Check List

If you or someone you know are thinking about or are taking the brave decision to leave a forced marriage, this Survivor’s Handbook will give you useful and practical information to help you take control of your life and focus on the future.

General Advice and Information:

If you, or someone you know, would like to speak to someone about forced marriage or female genital mutilation, then you can contact Suffolk Police on 101 or one of the organisations below.

IN AN EMERGENCY ALWAYS CALL 999

There are various organisations providing a network of domestic abuse support and advice in Suffolk.  There are also other organisations around the UK providing information, detailed below:

Details of National Support Groups:

FreedomCharityFreedom Charity
Celebrates the UK‘s cultural diversity and all the traditions that these bring – but it makes a clear distinction between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage.
Call 0845 607 0133 or text “4freedom” 88802

Childline LogoChildLine
ChildLine is a private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of nineteen. You can contact a ChildLine counsellor about anything – no problem is too big or too small. Call free on 0800 1111

Southall Black SistersSouthall Black Sisters
A not-for-profit organisation set up in 1979 to meet the needs of black (Asian and African-Caribbean) and minority ethnic women.      Helpline 0208 571 0800
General Enquiries  0208 571 9595

Newham Asian Womens ProjectNewham Asian Women’s Project
This project is a woman only organisation and charity working to end violence against women and girls.
Telephone 0208 472 0528

Karma NirvanaKarma Nirvana
They have one clear aim: to stop the scandal of forced marriage and honour-based violence. No apologies.No excuses.No backing down. Honour Network Helpline 0800 599 9247

The Kiran ProjectThe Kiran Project
A project set up in 1990 to meet the needs of women from the Indian sub-continent experiencing domestic violence.
Telephone  0208 558 1986

Forced Marriage UnitForced Marriage Unit
The Government’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU), contact them if you’re trying to stop a forced marriage or you need help leaving a marriage you’ve been forced into.
Email: fmu@fco.gov.uk
Telephone: 020 7008 0151
From overseas: +44 (0)20 7008 0151
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Out of hours: 020 7008 1500 (ask for the Global Response Centre)

Be Prepared, Take Care and Stay Safe this Christmas

Public Health and NHS

 

 

 


Suffolk Public Health
and NHS tells us that last year winter was difficult for the health system across England, and Suffolk was no exception. For years health systems have seen increasing numbers of people who are living better for longer. This also means there are more people with several long term conditions.

There are a number of things you can do, or help someone you care for to do, to ensure that you don’t get caught out this winter:

  • Be prepared – stock up with cold remedies, pain killers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, stave off upset stomachs with anti-diarrhoea and rehydration mixtures, and keep plasters and bandages on hand for any cuts or scrapes.
  • Check your smoke alarms – with the Christmas preparations in full swing, don’t forget to ensure that your smoke alarms are in working order.
  • Get a flu vaccination – it will keep you from having a long recovery from this nasty illness, so book an appointment to get one if you haven’t already. People aged 65 or over, or have a long-term health condition or are pregnant are entitled to a free jab.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly – for the time it takes you to sing happy birthday through twice, use hot water and soap to wash away all kinds of viruses from colds and diarrhoea to so much more.
  • Seek help from your pharmacist – they are qualified health professionals who can advise on everything from a cold to long-term conditions.  This is often the best and quickest way to get well. Your pharmacist will let you know if a GP appointment is required. Pharmacies are one of the most accessible sources of advice, with many open long hours incl. evenings and weekends. Here are the Norfolk and Suffolk christmas-and-new-year-pharmacy-opening-times
  • Eat well and drink at least eight cups of fluids a day – it keeps your brain and body working well.
  • Keep your home warm – By setting your heating to the right temperature (between 18° – 21°C or 64°- 70°F) you can keep you well, especially avoiding chest infections. If you have a disability, are over 65 or live with children aged under 5 ring this local rate number for free advice on heating your home. 03456 037 686
  • Not feeling well – If you are unsure if you need urgent or emergency care, please call NHS 111 – trained professionals are on hand to guide you.
  • Beat the winter blues – talk to someone. Talk about your anxieties with someone else, a friend, relative or a group such as the Samaritans. Talking about the things that are worrying you can make a big difference. It is easy to get help from the Suffolk Wellbeing Service too. This is a free NHS service, suitable for people aged 16 + living in Suffolk. You can phone them on 0300 123 1781 or refer yourself via their website.

Do you have any Elderly and Vulnerable Neighbours?

Are you able to spend a few minutes to ensure that: On their own

  • they are not alone all the time
  • their paths are clear of snow and ice
  • they have plenty of food in
  • they are warm enough
  • they have sufficient medication to get through the holiday period
  • if they can use the internet, that they know where to look for information and support

Further information and support over the Christmas and New Year Period

Visiting friends and family this Christmas, or just venturing out, keep up to date with the latest road, rail and weather news.

 

safer-suffolk-christmas-wishes

Urban Exploration

What is it?

Urban exploration is the exploration of man-made structures and usually abandoned ruins. Photography and videos feature heavily in this activity and may sometimes involve trespassing onto private property.

the-wine-rack-ipswichIt has been brought to our attention that a video has been published which shows that this highly dangerous activity is taking place at ‘The Wine Rack’ at the Waterfront in Ipswich.

Chief Inspector Jo Garrard, Head of Suffolk Police Community Safety, said: “Climbing on buildings or engaging in the practice of ‘urban exploration’ are both very dangerous activities and we would strongly warn people against participating in them.

“Not only is there a serious risk of injury or death to those involved, but they could also find themselves prosecuted for causing criminal damage to buildings or property. Exploring commercial properties, even disused ones, can also lead to a prosecution by the property owner.

We would ask parents to warn their children of the implications of such behaviour and appeal to members of the public to contact police on 999 if they witness any incidents of this in progress.”

 

 

Modern Slavery

The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2 December, marks the date of the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others

“On this International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, let us resolve to use the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a roadmap for stamping out root causes and freeing all enslaved people in our world.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The focus of the day is on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict

What does ‘modern slavery’ actually mean?  The UN explains that:

Forced Labour – alongside traditional forms of forced labour, such as bonded labour and debt bondage there now exist more contemporary forms of forced labour, such as migrant workers, who have been trafficked for economic exploitation of every kind in the world economy: work in domestic servitude, the construction industry, the food and garment industry, the agricultural sector and in forced prostitution.

Trafficking in Persons  – means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion for the purpose of exploitation.

Exploitation – includes prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. The consent of the person trafficked for exploitation is irrelevant and If the trafficked person is a child, it is a crime even without the use of force.

From 1 November 2015, specified public authorities in the UK (County/District/Borough Councils, Police Forces etc) have had a duty to notify the Secretary of State of any individual encountered in England and Wales who they believe is a suspected victim of slavery or human trafficking. This duty is intended to gather statistics and help build a more comprehensive picture of the nature and scale of modern slavery in the UK.

small-modern-slavery-posterIt is estimated that there were 10,000-13,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK in 2013, but only 1,746 potential victims were referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) in the same period. In 2015, this figure rose to 3,266 potential victims.

The Home Office Strategic Communications have produced a partner fact sheet and a poster to help raise awareness of a duty to notify/reporting requirements for Modern slavery and human trafficking amongst relevant organisations.

The HO materials can be downloaded here.

 

Marine Safety and Security

When the weather is fine many people enjoy spending time on our beautiful rivers, lakes or on the coast.  However if you own a vessel, have you taken measures to secure it when it’s not in use?

Marine Crime

Here are a few ways in which you can make your boat and equipment more secure and safe:

Boat Shield

  • To help stamp out boat crime Suffolk and Norfolk Police have also joined forces with local boatyards, chandlers, clubs and groups and launched BoatShield. If you are a boat owner, look out for BoatShield information point within boatyards, chandlers, as well as at boating clubs and groups across the Waveney Area.
  • If you are unlucky enough to have a boat or equipment stolen, you can register  the theft with StolenBoats.org.uk. Contact your local Police or Insurers and ask that they add the item on your behalf. StolenBoats is an online database, all the information is provided by the marine Insurance industry and the Police and is cross-checked with the Police National Computer.

Fire Safety on BoatsEvery year during Boat Fire Safety Week (May/June), safety on boats and fire safety in particular, is highlighted all week.  Whilst a fire is unlikely on a boat that is well maintained, boaters can be caught unawares or put in a difficult situation, if a fire does occur.

Download this leaflet for tips and advice on how to protect your boat and crew from fire, and what to do should a fire break out.

  • Suffolk Fire and Rescue also has lots of fire prevention Suffolk Fire Boat Safety image
    information including advice about fire on boats

  • Each year boaters die or are made seriously ill from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning – Boats are built to keep water out, but this also makes them good containers for gases and fumes.  Here is some advice on how to protect everyone on your boat against this ‘silent killer’.
  • Breathing in a space filled with toxic fumes and smoke is like Carbon Monoxide Warning posterdrowning out of the water. Two breaths and you could be unconscious. Fit smoke alarms if you stay aboard your boat.

Below are more tips to help keep you, your boat and your property safe:

  • Wearing life jackets, the RYA has recommendations.
  • Respect the water, is the RNLI’s national drowning prevention campaign. It highlights the risks, helps you avoid them and gives advice to keep you and those around you safe
  • RLSS has advice on what to do if you spot someone in trouble in the water
  • Keep your boat keys separate from your engine keys
  • Don’t leave your keys in the ignition – always take them with you
  • Always keep your boat locked when no-one is on board
  • Never leave anything valuable on display
  • Don’t leave anything loose in the cockpit or on deck
  • Use strong padlocks or rim locks on all your hatches, entry points and cockpit lockers
  • Keep a list of all the serial numbers on valuables and property mark them with your home postcode and register them on Immobilise.
  • Register all electrical appliances and regularly check witboat-fire1h Suffolk Trading Standards for all product recalls. A recent boat fire shows what can happen if you don’t know that a product you have on board has been recalled.
  • Remember to review and improve the security on your boat regularly. Locks will need replacing as well as property marking your valuables
  • Remove outboards during winter months

The RNLI and the Boat Safety Scheme also have lots of helpful and useful safety and sailing advice and information.

And remember, always wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid at all times
whilst on the boat or near the water’s edge

Community Speed Watch

Suffolk Police LogoCommunity Speed Watch

Do you…

  • Have any spare time?
  • Want to reduce the speed of vehicles in your community?
  • Have young children?
  • Have pets that may wander around your neighbourhood?

Community Speed Watch makes a valuable contribution to road safety within the Ipswich District and we seek additional volunteers.  The police will provide the right level of reassurance and enforcement but officers cannot always carry out speed enforcement checks in every location that wants them on a regular basis.

Can you spare 1 hour a week?

Why not get together with like-minded members of the community and use speed detection equipment to monitor traffic speeds in your community.  This will help to raise awareness and the dangers of speeding in order to help improve the safety of your community.

Check out What’s involved

A film has been produced which explains how communities can work together to reduce speeding in their area.

So if you can spare a little of your time and are interested in joining there are a number of ways you can speak to someone about it.  You can contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Team, or Email: communityspeedwatch@suffolk.pnn.police.uk
or Call 101 and ask for your local Safer Neighbourhood Team.

More information can be found in this leaflet.

 

Darker Nights – Protect your property and valuables

When the clocks go back on Sunday 30 October 2016, residents are encouraged to ‘switch on’ to some simple crime prevention tactics. This is also the time of year when there is the possibility of lots of people going out and enjoying Halloween/Firework Parties.

Lights on Timers

Dark Nights

As darkness now descends earlier in the day we want to help people ensure that they don’t advertise that their homes are open to thieves by leaving their home in darkness or leave their property and valuables unsecured.

Leaving your house in total darkness is a sure sign no-one’s at home and an invitation to burglars.  Burglars look for quick win opportunities; they don’t want to run the risk of a confrontation so simply leaving a light on to give the impression someone is at home is often enough to deter them.

Timer switches can also be fitted to operate radios and lights if you’re not back from work until after dark or if you’re away for a few days.  Leaving a light on costs literally pence in electricity – and that pales into insignificance compared to the hundreds of pounds in insurance excess you might have to pay should your home be broken into.  A high proportion of all break-ins are as a result of properties being left insecure so checking all windows and doors are locked before leaving the house is crucial.  Other home security essentials are to use your burglar alarm if you have one – it’s amazing how many households don’t bother – and also to never leave a spare key under the doormat or a flowerpot.  Burglars will always look there first so it’s not much of a ‘hiding place’.

Security 

Suffolk Police advise most burglaries are committed by opportunist thieves who will search a neighbourhood for homes that look empty or dark, with access to back gardens. They also look out for windows that have been left open and unlocked doors.

By following a few simple steps, you can reduce the chances of becoming a victim of burglary.

Anyone wishing to find out more about Crime Prevention Advice and Home Security should contact their local Crime Prevention Officer at Suffolk Police on 101.

101 is the number to call when you want to contact Suffolk Police when it’s less urgent, however in an emergency always call 999.

There are a number of other celebrations at this time of the year too.

Diwali (also known as the Festival of Lights) is one such celebration. Diwali is a Diwali Picturereligious festival including Hindu, Sikh and Jain faiths which begins on Wednesday 11 November and continues for 5 days until Sunday 15 November.  This brings an opportunity for houses and businesses to be renovated and decorated and is also a time of much celebration with feasts. Diwali is also a time when fireworks are permitted until 1am the next day

There are visits to family and friends houses and women often dress in luxurious silks and this is also when gifts of gold jewellery are often exchanged and worn. Unfortunately this is also a time when there is the potential for a significant increase in families having gold and other jewellery in their houses, and in their possession, which could lead to an increase in the offences whereby Asian gold is targeted.

ipswich-and-suffolk-indian-assoc

Ipswich and Suffolk Indian Association (ISIA) can provide more information about Diwali and other celebrations

In the past Police Forces nationally have experienced an increase of jewellery thefts during this period.  In particular, some Asian communities are often hit harder by thefts as their jewellery is often made of purer gold which has a higher value.  Hampshire Police have helpfully produced some essential messages in a range of languages, these are linked below:

Asian Gold Thefts

  • Gold Burglary LeafletEnglish 
  • Gold Burglary LeafletHindi
  • Gold Burglary Leaflet – Bengali
  • Gold Burglary Leaflet – Punjabi
  • Gold Burglary Leaflet – Urdu
  • Gold Burglary Leaflet – Nepalese