Forced marriage victims in Newham to get workshop support

A voluntary organisation which campaigns against forced marriages is to offer extra support to victims living in Newham.

The JAN Trust, which supports women from ethnic minority communities, has made the move in the wake of the Government’s introduction of a law banning the practice.

The charity said it made the move to Newham, along with neighbouring Redbridge and Waltham Forest because of its diverse population.

It will host workshops amd seminars at schools and centres catering for Pakistani and Asian communities. One has already taken place at Forest Gate Community School in Forest Lane.

A spokesman said: “The aim of this campaign is to reach out both to students and teachers, as well as youth and parents in affected communities.

“JAN Trust hopes that the community workshops will increase awareness amongst the youth and highlight the support available to them as well as acting as an educational tool for mothers to ensure that their daughters will not end up being victims of a forced marriage.

“The seminars aimed at teachers hope to sensitise them to the issue of forced marriages and helping them to spot potential victims.”

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The new law, which follows a Home Office consultation that ended in March, could see perpertuators sent to jail. It will not affect arranged marriages, which take place with consent.

Project manager Sajda Mughal, from the JAN Trust, added: “We want to raise awareness on this inhumane act and educate women and girls about their rights.

“At the same time we want mothers to be able to support their daughters by giving them correct information which clearly states that a forced marriage is not an act permitted by Islam.

“Changing behaviours and attitudes that lead to the abuse must be done at a local level.”