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Children: Forced Marriage

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 29 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether he has implemented a national policy for safeguarding children at risk of forced marriage. (247394)

The Home Office leads work on the Government's national domestic violence delivery plan including work on forced marriage. The Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) is a key partner in this work and we are committed to doing all we can to tackle forced marriage and to engage effectively with local communities. We work closely with the Forced Marriage Unit to improve the engagement of schools and local authorities. In April 2008 DCSF Ministers wrote to local authorities and schools reminding them of their responsibilities relating to forced marriage, and in June 2008 new materials were launched to raise awareness of forced marriage. These were sent to all secondary schools, pupil referral units, local authorities and local safeguarding children boards. In November 2008 new statutory guidance was published aimed at local authorities and other agencies entitled "The Right to Choose: Multi-agency statutory guidance for dealing with Forced Marriage". Practice guidelines to support the implementation of this statutory guidance are being developed and will be available shortly.