Last week Temporary Detective Sergeant Tom Bishop and Investigating Officer Amy Todd from Sheffield’s Child Abuse Investigation Unit obtained Forced Marriage Protection Order’s (FMPOs) for three females identified as being potential victims of forced marriage.
On Friday (6 April), officers presented the details of the case before a judge at Sheffield Family Court, whom upon hearing the circumstances and potential risks posed to the females granted the protection orders.
Officers made the application following a report from a member of the local authority who had raised concerns for the safety of three females who were suspected as becoming victims of forced marriage.
Based on these concerns officers began investigating and implementing safeguarding measures to prevent the females from becoming victims of this illegal cultural practice, or from being taken out of the UK for this to happen.
Force lead for Honour Based Abused and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Temporary Detective Inspector Suzanne Jackson, has commented on the effectiveness of the protection orders. She said: “FMPOs are a powerful and effective method of prevention that enable us to protect victims and potential victims of honour based abuse.
“It is important we are able to take these measures as forced marriage isn’t just a marriage, it can mean repeated rapes and enforced pregnancy on both women and children. For any female this is horrific, particularly for younger girls or females who have learning difficulties and are unable to consent to a long term arrangement made by parents and family members.
“It is these detrimental and long-term effects caused by honour based abuse we remain committed to working with our partners to identify, prevent and protect victims and potential victims.
“To enable us to effectively achieve this it is vital professionals in education, health and local authority services look out for and report any concerns they may have to police, especially around school and summer holidays.
“In all cases we work closely with our partners and support services to take action and will always where appropriate work with the family court to obtain protection orders. Our focus and commitment remains working to safeguard females who are at risk and to seek prosecutions for perpetrators of this abuse.
“Thankfully in this case, as a result of the diligence of a member of the local authority, we were able to take the necessary steps and obtain the protection orders. I would therefore encourage anyone, whether you have concerns or notice parents and carers requesting extended leave to countries where harmful cultural practices like forced marriages and FGM still continue, to not be afraid to question it and report it.
“I would like to offer my reassurance that any type of honour based abuse is not tolerated by South Yorkshire Police and we will always take action to stop it.”
If you have any concerns in relation to forced marriage or FGM please contact either police on 101 or 999 in an emergency. You can also get support and information from third party support centres such as Ashiana on 0114 255 5740 and Karma Nirvana 0800 5999 247.