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University Event to Highlight Issue of Forced Marriage

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The National Centre for the Study and Prevention of Violence and Abuse (NCSPVA) at the University of Worcester will be joining forces with two influential organisations to highlight the issue of forced marriage later this month.

The Centre, alongside the Government’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) and leading charity Karma Nirvana, will be hosting a roadshow at the University’s St John’s campus on May 20.

Forced marriage is defined as one conducted without the valid consent of both people, where pressure or abuse is used; and is distinguished from arranged marriages, where both parties fully and freely consent to the marriage, although their families take a leading role in the choice of partner.

Karma Nirvana has been supporting victims of honour-based violence and forced marriage for over two decades, and uses its roadshow events to highlight its work and allow victims and professionals to share their experiences.

The Worcester event will have a particular focus on raising awareness of the new law for the criminalisation of forced marriage – implemented in 2012 - and offering an explanation of how the law can be used to protect victims, as well as ensuring general awareness and promoting best practice.

Ruth Jones OBE, Founding Director of the NCSPVA, says: “This is a great opportunity to work with partner agencies to raise the issue of Forced Marriage on a national and local level.

“We look forward to welcoming distinguished speakers from the Government’s Forced Marriage Unit, and from Karma Nirvana, and to raising the profile of work being undertaken locally.”

The event is supported by Worcestershire Forum Against Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence. Martin Lakeman, Strategic Coordinator of the Forum, says: “This event will celebrate an important watershed in making Forced Marriage a criminal offence and help raise awareness with professionals around the help and support available to victims."

Following the event, Worcestershire Children's Safeguarding Board will be highlighting the new local Forced Marriage Protocol.

The event is free to attend but places are limited; to book a place please contact Jo Fleet on 01905 855147 or on j.fleet@worc.ac.uk.   

More information on Karma Nirvana’s work can be found at www.karmanirvana.org.uk, and their helpline can be contacted on 0800 599 247.