Conference to raise awareness of Forced Marriage, FGM and Honour Based Violence - Hertfordshire

23/06/2014

Over one hundred and fifty people attended a conference at Hertfordshire Constabulary Headquarters today, Monday, 23 June 2014, to raise awareness of Forced Marriage, Honour Based Violence, and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The conference, which was organised by Hertfordshire's County Community Safety Unit, starts a week of awareness around the topics.

Speakers included Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS Thames and Chiltern; Jasvinder Sanghera CBE, founder and CEO of Karma Nirvana; Victoria White, from the Home Office Forced Marriage Unit; Detective Superintendent Mick Hanlon, Head of the County Community Safety Unit, and Jo Sharpen, Children and Young People's negotiator from Against Violence and Abuse (AVA).

A survivor of Forced Marriage also spoke at the conference about her experience.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "I was delighted to be asked to speak at the Hertfordshire criminalisation of Forced Marriage, and FGM Roadshow.

"I am convinced that with Hertfordshire Constabulary and the Crown Prosecution Service working together, we can raise awareness about the changes in law concerning the criminalisation of Forced Marriage.  This will help the key agencies to learn valuable lessons about how best to encourage victims and third parties to come forward and report these crimes in order for the CPS to build strong cases to put before the courts."

Detective Chief Superintendent, Mick Campbell, Head of Operational Support, who opened the conference, said: "Hertfordshire Police is delighted to host this roadshow with the help of Karma Nirvana and our partner agencies.

"Attendees of the roadshow will be even better equipped at understanding new criminal offences relating to Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence, as well as improving their ability to identify potential victims and perpetrators, ultimately making our communities safer and enhancing trust and confidence in policing.

"We are all committed to raising awareness and tackling the issues surrounding Forced Marriages, Honour Based Violence and FGM, which are  under-reported. Our message is clear - if you or you suspect someone is the victim of one of these crimes do not suffer in silence - speak out. There is help available to you."

David Lloyd, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, said: "I fully support today's roadshow, which highlights the continued commitment of Hertfordshire Constabulary along with Karma Nirvana and other agencies to tackling these crimes and raising awareness of such issues, which sadly are under reported.

"Together with the new legislation passed on Forced Marriage last week, I hope all of this awareness will help to put an end to the unknown number of people who are needlessly made to suffer as a result of Forced Marriage, Honour Based Violence and FGM. I would encourage victims, or those who may suspect someone is a victim of these types of crime to come forward and speak out - help is out there."