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    Forced marriage, violence against women, sexual exploitation; new research reports and guidance

    Would your staff know how to respond to forced marriage or violence against women? Would your staff fall into the trap of thinking that sexual exploitation is just about Asian offenders targeting White girls? Does your organisation run information campaigns to raise awareness and help staff to know how to address these issues? Read new research reports and guidance on these problems

    ‘Unheard voices: the sexual exploitation of Asian girls and young women’ was published in September 2013 by the Muslim Women’s Network UK. It is based on 35 case studies across England. The majority are Muslim, with almost two thirds of British Pakistani heritage. Most were between 13 and 14 years old, making secondary schools important contexts for intervention, prevention and support. Key findings from the research include:

    • Blackmail connected with shame and dishonor is often used to control victims and prevent reporting of offenses
    • Perpetrators were of all backgrounds, for example Afghani, Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani, White and dual heritage backgrounds
    • Attitudes amongst Asian and Muslim communities are mainly dismissive or disbelieving in relation to child sexual exploitation.

    The research also revealed that authorities are failing to identify or support Asian girls who are being sexually exploited, and many offenses are not reported.

    Shaista Gohir, lead researcher and Chair of the Muslim Women’s Network UK, said ‘This report challenges the stereotype that child sexual exploitation is a racial crime in which Asian offenders target White girls only.  The findings indicate that Asian girls are even more vulnerable than White girls to exploitation by Asian predators - they are considered a ‘less risky’ option because they are less likely to report abuse due to shame and dishonour. The sad reality is that sexual predators come from all backgrounds and tend to target those closest to them. While we must be careful not to provide a false perception that grooming is restricted to Asian communities, cases involving Asian offenders must not be swept under the carpet either.’

    To read the report, click here

    Research by the London Metropolitan University showed that forced marriage was most likely to occur for women between the ages of 16 and 25, making colleges and higher education institutions important contexts for intervention, prevention and support. A good practice guide for colleges and universities suggests practical steps to take to strengthen an organisation’s response to forced marriage and violence against women.

    To read the report about these issues, click here

    To download the good practice guide, click here

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