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Forced Marriage and Child Marriage: Information in Schools

Volume 708: debated on Monday 31 January 2022

11. What steps he is taking to provide information in schools for at-risk children on forced marriage and child marriage. (905336)

The “Keeping children safe in education” statutory guidance provides a strong safeguarding framework for schools. It sets out the role that all school staff have to play in safeguarding children, including information for staff on what forced marriage actually is, as well as signposting to further help from the Government’s forced marriage unit.

My private Member’s Bill, the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Bill, has its Third Reading on 25 February. We are approaching a crucial time for young people at risk of child marriage. Many child marriages happen when children are taken abroad, generally in the summer holidays and often to someone they have never met. Will the Minister meet me to discuss how we can raise awareness of this issue in schools so that children know they can speak out if their parents or other relatives intend to take them abroad to be married in the school holidays and so that teachers know how to report children they consider to be at risk?

“Keeping children safe in education” is clear that all school and college staff should offer early help to children at risk of forced marriage or who are missing from education. It also signposts to detailed information developed by the forced marriage unit that outlines how schools and colleges should handle any concerns relating to forced marriage. My hon. Friend has campaigned long and hard on this issue, and of course I would be very happy to meet her.