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July 17, 2015

Forced marriage: How hundreds of terrified British victims of the tradition are being failed every year by the services they need most

Emily Dyer

Originally published in The Independent

As millions of schoolchildren across England and Wales break up for the summer over the coming days, a few hundred, the vast majority girls, are full of dread. These are the victims of forced marriage, a tradition that is spreading across the country, and spreading fear in its wake.

The victims of forced marriage – and some who manage to escape it, too – are being failed by the services they most desperately need. Social services, police and schools still often miss the signs of forced marriage and can put victims at further risk through improper handling of cases, research by the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) and further investigation by this newspaper have found.

HJS research fellow and author of the report, Emily Dyer, said: “Despite recent progress in raising awareness of ‘honour’ abuse and forced marriage in the UK, there is still a clear gap in support for victims who are leaving their families and communities behind to escape abuse.

“This is down to a lack of basic knowledge and understanding among professionals, which – as our report shows – can increase victims’ vulnerability and isolation, as well as the risk of them returning home. Provision of care needs to be standardised through training of all professionals on how to identify ‘honour’ abuse and forced marriage and how to provide victims with the necessary support.”

Read the full article here

Emily Dyer

About Emily Dyer

Emily joined the Henry Jackson Society as a researcher in January 2012. She is currently researching women’s rights in Egypt having recently co-authored Al-Qaeda in the United States: A Complete Analysis of Terrorism Offenses. Emily previously worked as a Higher Executive Officer for the Preventing Extremism Unit at the Department for Education, where she wrote several papers on extremism within educational settings. Beforehand she was based at the Policy Exchange think tank. Emily has written for a broad range of publications including The Observer, The Telegraph, The Huffington Post, City AM, The Atlantic, CTC Sentinel and Standpoint magazine, largely on women’s rights in the Middle East, extremism, and human rights. Emily studied International Relations from the University of Birmingham, where she produced a First class dissertation on Islamic feminism in Iran, and has travelled widely within Syria and Turkey.

Full profile  |  See all of Emily Dyer's work