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First National Forced Marriage Conference To Take Place in Derby

MEDIA CALL: Members of the media/photographers are invited to attend a media opportunity at the first National Conference on Forced Marriage at 12.30pm on Tuesday, May 6 at Derby’s Council House, Corporation Street, Derby, DE1 2FS. 

If you plan to attend, or if you are particularly interested in one of the presentations, please advise Sallie Blair (Derbyshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner) on 01283 821012 or Anna Hardy (Karma Nirvana) on 0113 218 0114 by 12 noon Friday, 2 May 2014.

 

Derbyshire to host first national conference on Forced Marriage ahead of legislation change

Criminal justice experts from across the UK are set to descend on Derbyshire for a national conference examining Forced Marriage.

Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles, along with prominent Forced Marriage campaign charity Karma Nirvana, will host a one-day seminar to discuss how police and community safety partners can increase protection to vulnerable women and encourage more victims to seek help.

The event, which takes place at Derby’s Council House on Tuesday (May 6), marks the forthcoming change in legislation, due next month, which will make Forced Marriage a criminal offence.

A range of prominent speakers are set to attend including leading family lawyer Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE, who will present findings from the Forced Marriage Commissioning Report, Chaz Akoshile, joint head of the Forced Marriage Unit, HM Chief Inspector Tom Winsor, HMIC, Commander Makhdum Ali Chisty, ACPO National lead for Honour-Based Violence and Forced Marriage and Derbyshire Chief Constable, Mick Creedon. The conference will also hear the stories of survivors to help attendees understand the emotional sensitivities surrounding this issue.  

The conference is aimed at exploring the national legislative changes due to take effect and ensuring that PCCs, police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and community safety partners are fully prepared to implement them. It will also discuss examples of good practice in supporting victims and effective partnership working strategies.

Commissioner Charles said: “I’m pleased to see Derbyshire at the forefront of national efforts to improve the response we provide to victims of Forced Marriage. Too many victims suffer in fear and silence and it’s our duty to give them the courage they need to come forward and seek help so this abhorrent behaviour is no longer supressed in our communities. 

“Forced Marriage is insupportable and I’m pleased that the new legislation reflects the gravity with which it needs to be viewed. Victims are exposed to the same level of fear, turmoil and degradation as victims of domestic abuse and just because the issue is so closely linked to family, cultural or religious customs or traditions it doesn’t mean society has to sit by and let it happen. It’s time that every community rejected this kind of treatment of vulnerable young women and the work that we will jointly carry out will not only have tougher repercussions on perpetrators it will also ensure those at risk are identified quickly, long before they face any physical danger.”

Jasvinder Sanghera CBE, survivor of forced marriage and founder and Chief Executive of Karma Nirvana said: “I’m delighted to be co-hosting the first national conference on Forced Marriage, where we will be talking about its forthcoming criminalisation, with Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles. The change in the legislation which will make forced marriage a specific offence is the result of a 10 year campaign, which has now delivered necessary and very welcome change.

“We are pleased to have brought together so many national leaders with diverse perspectives, experiences and responsibilities. It is so important that statutory organisations such as the police, PCCs and the criminal justice service work in partnership with non-statutory support organisations to provide a sensitive and holistic service to victims.

A forced marriage is one in which one or both parties do not consent to the marriage taking place and pressure or abuse is being used. It represents a serious abuse of human rights and is recognised within the UK as a form of violence, particularly against young women. The pressure placed on people to marry against their will can be physical and include threats and physical or sexual violence or emotional and psychological.

From next month, parents who force their children to marry in England and Wales could be jailed under new laws which criminalise Forced Marriage. The new law will distinguish between Forced Marriages where there is no consent and arranged marriages where both parties have consented and can refuse to marry if they choose. It is hoped the new law will send out a strong message to perpetrators of this crime that it will not be tolerated and encourage more people to report instances that either they or people they know have experienced. 

Notes to editors:

This is the first national conference on Forced Marriage.

Forced marriage is soon to be made a specific, criminal offence.

David Cameron is due to host a summit on FGM and forced marriage in July.

All speakers are willing to undertake media interviews – any restrictions such as photographs of survivors will be advised on the day.

Agenda can be viewed below.

Agenda

The National Conference on the criminalisation of Forced Marriage

Hosted by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire in partnership with Karma Nirvana at Derby’s Council House, Corporation St, Derby DE1 2FS Tuesday May 6th 2014, 10am to 4pm (registration from 9.15am)

Time

  9:15 Registration and refreshments

10:00 Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire Alan Charles

10:05 Hardyal Dhindsa, Deputy PCC for Derbyshire (Conference Chair)

10:10 Video address from Baroness Butler-Sloss, Chair of the National Commission on Forced Marriage

10:20 Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE, National Commission on Forced Marriage

10:35 Jasvinder Sanghera CBE, Karma Nirvana

10:50 Survivor Ambassador 1

11:00 Video address by Rt Hon Norman Baker MP, Minister of State for Crime Prevention

11:10 Refreshments

11:25 Survivor Ambassador 2

11:35 Rt Hon Helen Jones MP, Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

11:50 Chaz Akoshile, Joint Head Forced Marriage Unit

12:05 Nazir Afzal OBE, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North West of England

12:20 Lunch

13:15 Tom Winsor, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary

13:30 Commander Makhdum (Mak) Ali Chishty, ACPO National lead for HBV & Forced Marriage

13:45 Breakout sessions (please refer below)

14:30 Refreshments

14:45 Mick Creedon, Chief Constable Derbyshire Constabulary

15:00 Plenary Q+A Panel including Anne-Marie Hutchinson, Jasvinder Sanghera, Derbyshire Constabulary, Chaz Akoshile

15:45 Joint close from Alan Charles and Jasvinder Sanghera

16:00 End

Breakout session timetable: attendance at these sessions will be decided by delegates on the day of the event during registration.

Victims of Forced marriage - rising to the commissioning challenge led by David Peet, Chief Executive and Mary Bosworth, Head of Commissioning for Derbyshire OPCC.

Criminalisation of forced marriage - The practicalities and challenges led by Chaz Akoshile & Kaplan Law School.

Best practice dos & don'ts from real life Survivor experiences led by Jasvinder Sanghera CBE & Members of KN Survivor Ambassador Panel.

Assessing cases of FM/HBV using a specific risk assessment tool led by South Wales Police.

Ends

 

Posted on Thursday 1st May 2014
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