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

Female Genital Mutilation Awareness

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a form of child abuse which has devastating physical and psychological consequences for girls and women and it’s illegal in the UK.  It’s also illegal to take a British national or permanent resident abroad for FGM or to help someone trying to do this.

A new mandatory reporting duty for FGM was introduced via the Serious Crime Act 2015, following a public consultation and came into force on 31 October 2015. The duty requires regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales to report known cases of FGM in under 18-year-olds to the police.

What is FGM?

The World Health Organisation describes it as: “procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons” (WHO, 2013).

Since 1985 it has been a serious criminal offence, under the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act, to perform FGM or to assist a girl to perform FGM on herself. The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 tightened this law to criminalise FGM being carried out on UK citizens overseas.

Anyone found guilty of the offence faces a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

How can I find out more information?

The Government website, has lots more information about FGM including:

The NHS also has information concerning the effects of female genital mutilation. There are no health benefits to FGM. Removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue interferes with the natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies.

Female genital mutilation is an extremely serious crime. Suffolk Police has lots of helpful information and advice about FGM and Forced Marriage and about how to report your concerns.

Free Support and Advice

You can contact Suffolk Social Services on 0344 800 8020 for welfare/safety concerns relating to a child, young person or vulnerable adult

Barnardos FGMThe NSPCC launched their own Free 24-hour advice and support helpline 0800 028 3550 to help protect UK children from FGM. They also ran a campaign on Twitter @NSPCC which called on mothers and carers to end FGM.  You can search for information on Twitter using the hashtag #endFGM.

The Barnardos National FGM Centre has a Knowledge Hub which is a free online interactive website for professionals which allows access information on FGM. Select the profession you are in, and search for specific information you are looking for.

General Advice and Information

Healthy Suffolk also has an online FGM Information Hub which has lots more information and useful contact details.

If you have additional concerns that someone you know could be at risk of a Forced Marriage, we have additional information about this.

If you have any immediate worries or concerns about a child at risk in Suffolk call the Police 101 number or contact Suffolk Safeguarding Children Board

In an Emergency always dial 999

 

 

 

Staying Safe at Outside Events

Watching your favourite singer or band from the comfort of your armchair is great, but there’s nothing like being there live on the day. Tickets to big entertainment and sporting events sell out very quickly, which is very disappointing when you’ve really been looking forward to the big day.

This can make it very tempting to buy them from sources other than official websites. If your ticket is found not to be genuine you will be refused entry.  Here is some advice about purchasing tickets from Get Safe Online.

There are a number of great music events and festivals taking place in and around Suffolk in 2016, you may also be travelling out of County to events too.  We would like to encourage you to take a few minutes to think about your personal and property safety at these events, so in partnership with Suffolk Police, we have produced the ‘staying safe’ messages below. This information is also relevant for any/all large events.

Some of the events you may be planning on attending during August may include:

Audience Shot

Consider your own personal safety

Arrange a meeting point and agree a time in case you get separated from your friends. Drink too much and you’re likely to feel disorientated.  You can’t always rely on mobile phones, so it’s a good idea to make sure you don’t run your battery down completely. Some larger festivals may have recharging points.

  • Stick with friends and if you are camping, don’t go back to your tent alone
  • Enjoy the Festival/Event, but look after yourself and your friends
  • Keep hydrated and wear suitable clothing, taking into consideration the weather forecast.

Moderate your alcohol consumption

The best way to avoid problems from alcohol is to stay within the recommended limits. So keep a count of what you are drinking. Recognise when you’re drinking too quickly. Sometimes you might just be thirsty rather than really wanting an alcoholic drink. Don’t ruin your enjoyment of the festival by overdoing it and if the festival goes on for more than one day, give your body a break from the booze on at least one of the days and avoid morning drinking altogether.

Under the influence of alcohol you are more likely to find yourself in a vulnerable situation

Look After Your Valuables

Concerts and Festivals are not hotbeds of crime, but thefts do happen. They are more likely to occur if you have had lots of alcohol and you may not be aware of what’s going on around you.

Camping 1

If you are planning on camping at any of these or future events, check out ROSPA’s safety advice.

Try not to bring valuables like mp3 players or jewellery with you.

  • Don’t carry your wallet or phone in your back pocket
  • Do not leave valuables in your tent
  • If you do leave things of value in your car put them out of sight in the boot and make sure you lock your vehicle

Report any suspicious persons to a member of security at the event or to the Camp site Assistance Team. There are usually a number of Festival and Town Pastors also in attendance at many of the larger events.  These are people who will help anyone who needs assistance.

Please take some time to consider your personal safety and remain vigilant so you don’t become a victim of theft or any other crime.

Most Importantly
Have a wonderful time and Stay Safe

Staying Safe by Open Water

Each year colleagues in Suffolk Fire and Rescue team up with Anglian Water to reinforce messages about staying safe around water for Water Safety Week.

Be Water Aware

Cooling off in rivers, canals, ponds, quarries and lakes looks fun, but it can have deadly consequences. Every year emergency services are called to incidents where residents (particularly children and young people) get into difficulty when swimming in open water.

We would encourage everyone to share information about the dangers of cooling off in open water and to take heed of all water safety notices which warn of the dangers.

 

 

Drowning Prevention Week 2016Also every June the Royal Life Saving Society UK have their Drowning Prevention Week. This campaign highlights that one person drowns every 20 hours in the UK and hundreds more suffer life changing injuries through near drowning.

You can find out how you can get involved in their national campaign and help prevent drowning here.

Swimming in reservoirs is dangerous. 

Anglian Water has lots more advice about staying safe when visiting their water parks. These are operational sites and even the strongest swimmers can get into serious difficulties.

Dangers of cooling off in open water

The water may look calm on the surface, but there may still be strong undercurrents that could pull even a strong swimmer under. The water may also feel relatively warm on the

Swimming in Open Watersurface, but just a few feet below can be icy cold even in the hot weather and can very quickly cause severe cramp and hypothermia. There may be notices around warning of these conditions or whether swimming is even allowed.

Young people can often misjudge their swimming ability – they may view a river or lake as a tempting means of cooling off during a hot spell of weather, but fail to appreciate the harmful effects that the cold water can have on their stamina and strength.

Due to these dangers, we are urging people, particularly children and teenagers, not to swim anywhere other than in purpose-built and supervised swimming pools.

What to do if you see someone in difficulties

Around water - How to help

  • Get help: ring 999 or get someone else to do it. Alternatively if you are on your own without a mobile phone, call for help if you can see people nearby, or go and get help.
  • Think: of your own safety first. Don’t put yourself in danger by going into the water to rescue someone – you may get in difficulties in the water too.
  • Look: for any safety equipment close at hand such as lifebuoys or throwing lines.
  • Reach: a stick, scarf or clothes tied together can help you reach the person. Crouch or lie down to avoid being pulled into the water yourself.
  • Throw: a rope is best because you can then pull the person in. If you don’t have any rope, throwing something in that will float such as a football or even an empty plastic bottle will help in keeping the person afloat until help arrives.
  • Keep warm: once rescued, keep the casualty warm and ensure they get medical help as soon as possible.

Tombstoning – Why is it dangerous?

Tombstoning offers a high-risk, high-impact experience but it can have severe and life-threatening consequences.  This is because:

  • Water depths alter with the tide – the water may be shallower than it seems
  • Submerged objects like rocks may not be visible – these can cause serious impact injuries
  • The shock of cold water can make it difficult to swim
  • Getting out of the water is often more difficult than people realise
  • Strong currents can rapidly sweep people away

Tombstoning Check out ROSPA’s advice.

Key safety tips for staying safe near water

  • Alcohol and swimming do not mix – stay out of the water if you have been drinking.
  • Always watch your child while at the beach, lake or other natural bodies of water.
  • Never let older children swim in unsupervised areas like quarries, canals or ponds.
  • Do not swim near motor boats, jet skis or other power vehicles.
  • Never interfere with lifesaving equipment – you might need it yourself.
  • Learn to spot and keep away from dangerous water.
  • Take safety advice – heed notices which warn you of the danger.
  • Children should always visit open water sites with a grown-up.
  • Swimming anywhere other than at purpose built and supervised swimming pools is highly dangerous and is not recommended.

ROSPA Logo

More advice and information about water safety including garden ponds, ice safety, bath seats and child drowning can be found on the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) website.

Royal Lifesaving Society logo

 

Further advice is also available from the Royal Lifesaving Society

Above all, whatever you are doing, have fun
and Stay Safe

Police Connect

Police Connect

 

 

 

 

Do you like to keep up-to-date with issues, events and meetings in your area? Yes, then this could be for you.

Police Connect is a messaging service connecting you to the very latest policing news for your area via e-mail, text or phone.

There is no charge for this service – all messages you receive are free.

You can register to receive information about the issues that most matter to you and be among the first to be alerted by police in the case of an emergency affecting your area.

There is a simple online process which takes only a couple of minutes and will ensure you get regular updates on crime and public appeals, safety advice and meetings and events. There is the option to receive information about a range of specific interest areas – such as ‘rural’ or ‘rivers and coastal’ – as well as updates for business owners and news from your Police and Crime Commissioner. The choice is yours.

For more information and details on how to Register go to the Suffolk Police Website.

Staying Safe on a night out

We want people to enjoy themselves on a night out or at a party with their friends. However in partnership with Suffolk Police we have produced a number of ‘Staying Safe’ messages. A summary of the main points are below.

Consider your own personal safety

Arrange a meeting point and agree a time in case you get separated from your friends. Drink too much and you are likely to feel disorientated and you cannot always rely on mobile phones, so it’s a good idea to make sure your battery is fully charged before going out.

Look After Your Valuables

Unfortunately thefts do happen so:

  • Don’t leave things of value visible inside in your car, put them out of sight in the boot
  • Make sure you lock your vehicle
  • Don’t leave handbags/shopping bags unattended
  • Don’t carry your wallet or phone in your back pocket

Moderate your alcohol consumptionCheers

The best way to avoid problems from alcohol is to stay within the recommended limits. So be mindful of what and how much you are drinking. Don’t ruin your enjoyment by overdoing it.

This is not a crime Rape is

Under the influence of alcohol you are more likely to find yourself in a vulnerable situation. Plan your journey home.

Whos Taking You Home