Britain’s forced marriage crisis

Forced marriage statistics are just 'tip of the iceberg'

A judge has warned that official statistics of forced marriages are just ‘the tip of the iceberg’ of a much larger problem in Britain.

Marilyn Mornington said the Foreign Office’s Forced Marriage Unit had told her that, on top of about 500 cases it deals with each year, it receives a further 1,000 calls relating to individuals.

She also suggested there were thousands of other unreported cases, citing one woman’s organization in Derby that receives 300 calls a month.

Marilyn, who gave evidence on the issue to the Commons home affairs committee on Monday and deals with cases in South Yorkshire, called for a campaign to raise awareness of forced marriages in the media and schools. She hopes to change attitudes in communities of Asian origin and encourage victims to come forward.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today: ‘We have to remember that, even with these distressing figures, the vast majority of the Asian population and the other groups that practise forced marriage feel equally abhorrent as we do towards these practices.

‘But it is a very difficult area that we need to tackle… I think we have to have a multi-faceted approach, as has worked with domestic violence in the last 10 years.’

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