Several children in Rotherham saved from clutches of forced marriage

Several children in a South Yorkshire town have been saved from the clutches of forced marriage after they were identified as being a high risk.

Several children in Rotherham have been identified at being at risk of forced marriage.

Police have arrested a 42-year-old woman from Rotherham on suspicion of forced marriage offences, while the children - all from the South Yorkshire town - have been granted a Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO) by a judge at Sheffield Crown Court.

Officers in Rotherham’s Protecting Vulnerable People (PVP) team, supported by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and South Yorkshire Police’s Legal Services department, made the application after concerns were raised about several children being at risk.

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The injunction can forbid a person from doing certain things such as being physically violent, making contact directly or indirectly, taking someone out of the country, or making marriage arrangements.

It can also require the person named in the order to do certain things, for example, handover passports to the court or ensure a young person attends school.

Temporary Detective Sergeant Tom Bishop from Rotherham’s PVP team said: “Concerns were raised about the welfare of several children as a result of a referral from one of our partner agencies.

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“Across South Yorkshire there are a number of people, adults and children alike, who are currently protected by FMPOs and I hope this demonstrates to victims and affected communities that we treat these reports incredibly seriously.

“The court will consider in due course whether further orders are to be made.”

A person can apply for an FMPO if they have been forced into a marriage or they believe they are being forced into one.

The marriage does not have to have occurred for someone to gain protection.

A breach of an FMPO can result in a prison sentence.

Forced marriage is different to an arranged marriage in that both parties consent to help from families or a third party in choosing their spouse in an arranged marriage.

The Yorkshire Post previously revealed how children as young as 13 have been saved from the clutches of forced marriage by police officers across Yorkshire.

A special investigation uncovered 183 cases have been intercepted by police across Yorkshire and the Humber in 2018.

Of the 183 cases, 128 were linked to forced marriages being set up in Pakistan.

A further 18 were linked to Romania, five to Bangladesh and less than five to India.

Across the UK, there were a total of 1,764 cases the UK's Forced Marriage Unit gave advice and support to.

Of the cases, 312 victims were aged 15 and under, 307 were aged 18 to 21, and 262 aged 16 and 17.

West Yorkshire has also overtaken London as the area with the highest number of calls to Karma Nirvana, a charity which helps both women and men subjected to forced marriage.

Statistics reveal that there were 1,390 contacts made to the charity from people across West Yorkshire, compared with 817 calls from London.