CONSENT MATTERS – Towards effective prevention of forced marriages within the Pakistani community in the UK.

Through our 25 years of experience in supporting victims of forced marriages and working with perpetrators, we at JAN Trust decided to investigate this issue in further detail by conducting a consultation carried out over a 3 year period, along with a forced marriage survey. The results and recommendations form the basis of this report.

This report highlights the key issues and suggests effective prevention of forced marriages. We emphasise why we opposed the criminalisation of forced marriages. We believe that this will push this cultural practice deeper underground and will result in victims being placed under even greater pressure from their family and community to remain silent, as well as at a severe risk of retaliation attacks if they do seek help.

We are strongly calling for a grass-roots led approach to combating forced marriages and we recommend dialogue with the Pakistani community, educating and training relevant service providers and to improve the enforcement of the Forced Marriage Act. We hope that this will encourage service providers and statutory agencies to gain a better understanding of the culture surrounding forced marriages, and to become more empowered to appropriately deal with forced marriage cases.

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