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Annual Report 2016-17

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Forced Marriage Victims Get Protection After Times Investigation 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/forced-marriage-victims-get-protection-after-times-investigation-5xkrxxtwd

[Excerpt]

October 3rd, 2018: Victims of forced marriage will be able to block their abusers from entering Britain in an overhaul of immigration rules after a Times investigation. Women and girls who are coerced into marriage by their families will be allowed to give evidence in secret so they can object to their foreign spouses’ visas without fear of repercussions….

The Home Office’s role in facilitating forced marriages in Britain was exposed this year by a Times investigation. Women and girls told of being taken abroad by their families and forced to get married, before being raped, impregnated and sent back to Britain to sponsor visas for their husbands. Many contacted officials for help but were told that they could only block their spouses from the country by signing a public objection to the visa, which could be seen by their families. After refusing to waive their anonymity, officials allowed their abusers into the country….

Under-reporting is a huge issue and experts believe there are thousands of forced marriage cases every year in the UK, with the vast majority of victims too scared to come forward. Court records seen by this newspaper revealed that women known to have learning disabilities were among those being raped and beaten in Britain after the Home Office issued visas to their husbands. In one case, a Muslim woman with “very little comprehension of anything other than simple matters” was abused after she was married to a Bangladeshi cousin. The man was issued with a spousal visa even though officials knew about his wife’s severe disabilities….

 

Abuse Going Unreported in Britain’s South Asian Communities – study

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/19/abuse-going-unreported-in-britains-south-asian-communities-study

[Excerpt] September 19th, 2015: Rapists and abusers are escaping justice in Britain’s South Asian communities as sexual and domestic violence is going unreported by women and children who are trapped in a pervasive culture of shame, according to a new academic study.

The research project, carried out across several counties in England and Wales, has found that a lack of awareness about what constitutes criminal behaviour is endemic among first-generation immigrant families from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. “There was certainly no awareness that there could be rape within a marriage,” said Dr Karen Harrison of Hull University who, with co-author Dr Aisha Gill of the University of Roehampton, has carried out a two-year project talking to women, charities, police officers and religious leaders and holding focus groups….

One woman who spoke to the researchers had been a victim of abuse as a child. She said: “There is no unconditional love in Asian families. Honour is more important to them than their own child’s happiness. It’s down to the woman to keep her own dignity. The concept of honour is about honouring the family and the community at the cost of the individual.”

But Dr Harrison said there were small pockets of good practice across England and Wales that were starting to break down the taboos. “Our work has uncovered a number of initiatives operating in these communities that raise awareness of what constitutes sexual violence and encourages women and children to report crimes in a way they feel safe. Some of the charities and progressive mosques are getting the message out there but there is a lot of work to be done in raising awareness for these silent victims.”