Posted on 21/03/2012
An academic from Royal Holloway, University of London is launching a major study that could help to protect thousands of children who fall victim to forced marriage each year.
Anna Gupta, Head of Social Work, will investigate how professionals, including teachers, police officers and social workers, can help to protect children.
The study, which is the first of its kind, will present a clear picture of what help is currently available and what can be done to ensure that all possible support is available to children at risk.
A Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) was set up by the Government in 2005, which provides advice to victims and professionals. It offered help in more than 1,400 cases last year, but experts believes that these cases are just the tip of the iceberg.
Children under 18-years-old account for around one-third of the cases handled by the FMU, with the majority being young women or girls.
In her study, Ms Gupta will analyse how child protection services currently respond to children involved in forced marriages and make recommendations for the development of more effective responses. The study, which is being funded by BASPCAN, will include questionnaires to Local Safeguarding Children Boards, as well as interviews with professionals.