In addition to staffing costs, the Forced Marriage Unit has a budget of £273,000 for 2008-09. This budget is used to support work with non-governmental organisations in the UK and overseas, to fund outreach activities, to produce awareness raising materials, and other publications, such as the recent statutory guidance for agencies dealing with forced marriage.
In the first three quarters of 2008 the Forced Marriage Unit provided advice or support in a total of 1,308 incidences of suspected forced marriage. This included advice to individuals, non-governmental organisations and other agencies on specific cases. Of these 388 required direct support from the Unit, 192 needing consular assistance, and 196 requiring support as reluctant visa sponsors. Prior to 2007 figures were only recorded for cases where assistance was provided. In 2007 the Unit handled 168 cases requiring consular assistance, and 94 reluctant sponsor cases.
All consular staff overseas receive training which includes handling of forced marriage cases. Consular staff being deployed to countries where we commonly see forced marriage cases receive additional briefing and information from the Forced Marriage Unit.