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 leads 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 last year, 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 contact Bal Howard, Suffolk Police’s dedicated Honour Based Abuse Projects Officer.  Bal has a wealth of experience and is able to offer advice and expert knowledge to front line practitioners in these sensitive cases. Contact her on Suffolk Police on 101.

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

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

Hate Crime Awareness

What is a Hate Crime?

A hate crime is defined as – any incident which constitutes a criminal offence, perceived by the victim or anyone else as being motivated by prejudice or hate.

A hate incident is defined as- any incident which may or may not constitute a criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or anyone else as being motivated by prejudice or hate.

Hate crime can take many forms such as physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, sexual abuse and financial abuse. It can range from non-verbal intimidation to physical violence. Whichever form the abuse may take, it is important that you tell someone.

How is it dealt with in Suffolk?

The Suffolk Hate Crime Service is now closed.  However, information about the future development of support to victims of hate crime in Suffolk will be published on this Blog when available. Please keep checking back with us.

In Suffolk we take any form of hate crime seriously, no matter how insignificant you may feel it is at the time. Are being physically assaulted, called names, bullied? Are you feeling intimidated? Is your property being vandalised?  It is important that you tell someone when you have experienced a Hate Incident or Hate Crime even if you do not wish to be contacted by anyone.

How do I report it?

If you, or someone you know have been a victim of a hate crime and you want to report it, contact Suffolk Police or call them on 101. Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers  anonymously.

Always in an emergency call 999

Additional Information

Stop Hate UK, a national organisation, has produced a film ‘What is Hate Crime’ with British sign language, sub-titles and voice-over.

 

 

 

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

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.