Rotherham girl saved from forced marriage abroad

Police officers identified a Rotherham girl due to be taken abroad for an arranged marriage
Police officers identified a Rotherham girl due to be taken abroad for an arranged marriage

A Rotherham girl was saved from a forced marriage abroad after police officers in the town identified her at risk.

The youngster was identified by two police officers as being at risk and steps were taken to prevent her from being taken out of the country.

Specialist training has been given to police officers in South Yorkshire to help them identify potential signs of forced marriage.

Posters have also been displayed at Doncaster Sheffield Airport to encourage victims and those who fear they may be at risk of forced marriage to report their concerns.

The girl identified by the Rotherham officers Is now receiving support and protection.

Detective Sergeant Suzanne Jackson, who works in South Yorkshire Police's child protection team, said: “It is important people understand it is not just marriage, the victims may become repeat victims of rape and even enforced pregnancy.

"Our number one priority remains preventing and protecting members of our community from this abuse and by highlighting cases such as this, I hope we are demonstrating this.

“I would personally like to thank the officers for their handling of the incident as it was solely their actions that have helped save the life of a vulnerable victim.

“This is an ongoing issue and I hope by speaking out about forced marriage and taking action to protect victims, we are sending out a strong message that support is available and we will take proactive action to prevent this.”

NSPCC Chief Executive Peter Wanless said: “No child should be forced into marriage and we must be clear that, regardless of cultural expectations, this is a crime and an abuse of human rights. Forcing a child to marry shows a complete lack of regard for their feelings, thoughts or ambitions.

“We understand some may worry about betraying their family but we would urge anyone - including potential victims - to speak up before it is too late. Help us break the cycle and speak up, so that we can step in and stop a child being bound into something that they would never ask for.”

Children can call Childline on 0800 1111 and any adult worried about a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000.

Concerns can also be raised with South Yorkshire Police on 101.