Should Education On Forced Marriage Be Introduced In Schools?
Early and forced marriage is a sensitive subject and many people in UK are unsure of how to deal with or help to prevent it.
Forced marriage has become a huge challenge for those tackling prevention and last year the Government’s Forced Marriage Unit dealt with 1735 cases in the UK and these are only the ones we know about. Many children simply go missing and almost a third of this number are under 18.
The vast majority of those affected are girls, however, the incidence of male forced marriage is also on the increase.
David Cameron has recently announced he wants to make forced marriage a criminal act, "Forced marriage is little more than slavery," Mr Cameron said. There is a finely based argument around this, with many charities feeling this will not solve the problem. Many children at risk of forced marriage do not want to alienate their families and this discourages them from speaking out.
Families who force marriage may also be able to get around the legislation by taking their sons or daughters out of the country to marry. Criminalising forced marriage alone is not going to stop this global crisis and prevention is a must.
Should education on forced marriage be introduced in schools?
While many children will be excited as the term ends for the Christmas holidays and time can be spent with their families, this can be one of the most terrifying times for those being forced into marriage. The holidays are considered to be the most dangerous time for young women and men to be taken abroad to marry someone 2 or 3 times their age. These innocent girls and boys have no one to turn to and are sometimes tricked into going abroad
Schools are not doing enough to educate and provide assistance on forced marriage. Those at risk are often unsure of where to seek help and feel they are alone when their family turns on them.
Recognise the signs
Schools can help by recognising the signs of forced marriage early. This could help to prevent children from going missing every year and provide a safe refuge for those who have nowhere else to turn. Those experiencing forced marriage need to be assured that help is available and it is not being shied away from; they should be encouraged to speak out.
Promote against child abuse
You wouldn’t sit back and allow a child to be abused. Forced marriage is a form of abuse and these young girls and boys are subjected to being pulled out of school, losing their education, early pregnancy and serious health problems like HIV. Some are even beaten and attacked in order to force them into marriage.
Forced marriage is a global issue and there are up to 8000 cases of forced marriage in the UK alone. Along with criminlisation, the UK need to work toward preventing this abuse and focus on helping those at risk.
Help to end early forced marriage. More information can be found here at Plan-UK
How Can Teachers Help To Educate About Forced Marriage? Although we may never know the reasoning behind it, we can help to prevent the abuse that girls face from their families, which can be devastating and in some cases fatal...more