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3.21 Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence - Oxfordshire Protocol

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in June 2012 when links were added to the two documents related to Forced Marriage and Learning Disabilities (see Related Guidance below).

RELATED GUIDANCE

Honour Based Violence and Forced Marriage: Guidance on Identifying and Flagging cases (CPS)

Ministry of Justice: Forced marriage guidance for local authorities and relevant third parties (Justice.gov.uk)

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in December 2014 in order to reflect The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 which made it a criminal offence, with effect from 16 June 2014, to force someone to marry.


Contents

1. Introduction
  1.1 Forced Marriage
  1.2 Honour Based Violence
2. Identification of Forced Marriage
  2.1 Response by all Professionals
  2.2 Professionals Should Not
  2.3 Considerations for all Agencies
  2.4 Actions by Children's Assessment Team, (Children, Education and Families)
  2.5 Strategy Meeting
    2.5.1 Risk Factors
  2.6 Outcomes of the Strategy Meeting
  2.7 Cases which Proceed Under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989
  2.8 Cases which Proceed Under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989
  2.9 Contingency Plan Should Risks Increase
  2.10 Maintaining Case Stability
  2.11 The Legal Position on Forced Marriage
3. Identification of Honour Based Violence
  3.1 Risk Factors
  3.2 Response by all Professionals
  3.3 Actions by Children's Assessment Team, (Children, Education and Families)
    3.3.1 Contingency Plan Should Risks Increase
  3.4 Maintaining Case Responsibility
4. Specific Guidance for Police Officers Dealing with Honour Based Violence or Forced Marriage
  4.1 Initial Action
  4.2 Intelligence
  4.3 Investigation
  Appendix One - Quick Summary of Actions
  Appendix Two - Flowchart: Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence
  Appendix Three - Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Matrix
  Appendix Four - Thames Valley Police HBV1
  Appendix Five - Guidelines for NHS Professionals - Warning Signs of Forced Marriage
  Appendix Six - Useful Contact Numbers


1. Introduction

The implementation of this Oxfordshire Protocol is intended to assist professionals, police and social care teams to effectively, consistently and safely deal with cases of forced marriage and honour based violence towards children under the age of 18 years, by:

  • The early identification of such cases;
  • Reducing the risk once these cases are identified;
  • Initiating proportionate and effective joint short and longer term plans, in order to support the child and family and deal effectively with perpetrators of crime;
  • Maintaining and enhancing public confidence in the partner agencies, to respond safely and proportionately to allegations of honour based violence or forced marriage towards children;
  • Facilitating the effective use of powers, national guidance and best practice, in order to protect children and young people from harm.

1.1 Forced Marriage

A 'forced' marriage, as distinct from a consensual, 'arranged', marriage, is conducted without the valid consent of both parties and where duress is a factor. Duress cannot be justified on religious or cultural grounds.

In 2004, the Government's definition of domestic violence was extended to include acts perpetrated by extended family members as well as intimate partners. Consequently, acts such as forced marriage and so-called 'honour crimes' (which can include abduction and homicide) now come under the definition of domestic violence.

1.2 Honour Based Violence

So-called 'honour based violence' is a fundamental abuse of Human Rights. There is no honour in the commission of murder, kidnap and the many other acts, behaviour and conduct which make up violence in the name of honour. The term honour based violence (HBV) will be used throughout this document, as it is a recognised term describing cultural motivation for violence and abuse.

Honour based violence is a collection of practices, which are used to control behaviour and exert power within families to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour. Such violence can occur when perpetrators perceive that an individual has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code.

Honour based violence cuts across many cultures and communities, and cases encountered in the UK have involved families from Turkish, Kurdish, Afghani, South Asian, African, Middle Eastern, South and Eastern European communities. This is not an exhaustive list.


2. Identification of Forced Marriage

A young person who is being forced into marriage is likely to suffer Significant Harm through physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

Forced marriages encountered in the UK have involved families from South Asia, East Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. The reasons given by parents who force their children to marry include protecting their children, building stronger families and preserving cultural or religious traditions.

While there is a presumption that parents want the best for their children, this may result in conflict between their wishes and those of the young person. Where parents force their children to marry, the justification for their actions often falls within the following:

  • Controlling unwanted behaviour and sexuality (including perceived promiscuity, or being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender) - particularly the behaviour and sexuality of women;
  • Protecting 'family honour';
  • Responding to peer group or family pressure;
  • Attempting to strengthen family links;
  • Ensuring land, property and wealth remain within the family;
  • Protecting perceived cultural and/or religious ideals (which are often misguided or out of date);
  • Preventing 'unsuitable' relationships (e.g. outside the family's cultural, ethnic, religious or caste group);
  • Assisting claims for residence and citizenship;
  • Fulfilling long standing family commitments;
  • Debt repayment;
  • Alleviation of poverty and other sources of intolerable stress;
  • Appeasement of an aggrieved family member.

Information about a forced marriage may come from the young person themselves, one of the young person's peer group, a relative or member of the young person's local community, or from another professional. Forced marriage may also become apparent when other family issues are addressed, such as domestic violence and abuse, self-harm, child abuse or neglect, family / young person conflict, a young person not attending school or a missing young person / runaway.

Situations where a young person fears being forced into marriage have similarities with both domestic violence and abuse and honour based violence. Forced marriage may involve the young person being taken out of the country for the ceremony, is likely to involve non-consensual and/or underage sex, and refusal to go through with a forced marriage has sometimes been linked to so-called 'honour killing'.

2.1 Response by all Professionals

In the first instance, professionals should respond in a similar way to forced marriage as with child protection and honour based violence (i.e. in facilitating disclosure, ensuring the young person's safety by according them confidentiality in relation to the rest of the family until a Strategy Meeting has agreed a plan, completing individual risk assessments etc).

The needs of victims of forced marriage will vary widely. The young person may need help avoiding a threatened forced marriage, or help dealing with the consequences of a forced marriage that has already taken place.

Where an allegation of forced marriage or intended forced marriage is raised, the professional should:

  • See the young person immediately in a secure and private place;
  • See the young person on their own;
  • If the services of an interpreter are required, take steps to ensure the interpreter is not connected, even tenuously, with the individual;
  • Explain to the young person the boundaries of confidentiality: that information about risk may need to be shared with other agencies; that information is not shared with family or community-members if to do so would place them at increased risk of abuse; that the disclosure of information outside the meeting will be discussed with them in advance of doing so;
  • Tailor the approach according to whether the young person is already married or is at risk of being married (e.g. are there indications of a specific plan to force the young person to marry?). There may also be information suggesting a young person will be taken out of the country, often for a 'holiday' during a vacation period, and professionals should be aware that this could be linked to suspicions or concerns that the young person is at risk of forced marriage;
  • Attempt to gain information from the young person and from any relevant colleagues or records from within their own agency as to the context and circumstances within which the risk of forced marriage has emerged;
  • Obtain all details of the young person including date, place of birth, address, NI number, family names and addresses;
  • If the young person is afraid of being forced into marriage whilst abroad, obtain as much information as possible about the proposed travel arrangements. If possible, take a copy of their passport(s);
  • Develop an emergency safety plan with the young person;
  • Explain all the options to the young person (starting with the fact that forced marriage is illegal in the UK) and recognise and respect the young person's wishes. If the young person does not want Children, Young People & Families to intervene, the professional will need to consider whether the young person's wishes should be respected or whether the young person's safety requires that further action be taken. This requires the professional to make an assessment of the immediacy and seriousness of harm facing the young person;
  • Agree a means of discreet future contact with the young person;
  • Contact, as soon as possible, the agency's nominated safeguarding children adviser, who should be involved in the assessment of risk;
  • Record all discussions and decisions (including rationale if no decision is made to refer to Children, Young People & Families).

If a professional and their agency's nominated safeguarding children adviser conclude that the young person is at risk of harm, the professional should make a referral to children's assessment team (Children, Young People & Families) - see the Referrals (including Referrals Pathway) Procedure.

If the situation is acute and the young person is at risk of immediate Significant Harm the professional should call Thames Valley Police (see Section 4, Specific Guidance for Police Officers Dealing with Honour Based Violence or Forced Marriage below).

2.2 Professionals Should Not:

  • Ignore what the young person says or dismiss out of hand the need for immediate protection;
  • Approach the young person's family, friends or those people with influence within the community without the express consent of the young person, as this will alert them to agency involvement / enquiries;
  • Contact the family in advance of the Strategy Meeting. If the family are approached, they may deny that the young person is being forced or was forced to marry, move the young person, expedite any travel arrangements, bring forward the forced marriage or harm the young person;
  • Share information outside child protection information-sharing protocols without the express consent of the young person - see Information Sharing Protocol;
  • Breach confidentiality, except where necessary in order to ensure the young person's safety;
  • Attempt to be a mediator. This can put the young person at considerable risk of harm, possibly of being murdered.

2.3 Considerations for all Agencies

  • Consider, with their managers, staff safety when visiting the family home and any other settings;
  • Get as much information as possible when a case is first reported, as there may not be another opportunity for the individual reporting to make contact - particularly if the young person is going overseas;
  • Keep information from case files and databases strictly confidential, and preferably restricted to named members of staff only.

2.4 Actions by Children's Assessment Team, (Children, Education and Families)

Cases of forced marriage can involve complex and sensitive issues that should be discussed with the manager on duty.

At the earliest opportunity, social workers dealing with such cases should seek advice from a social worker/manager who has had specific training in handling the issues raised. Close continuous consultation and supervision with such a person should be subsequently offered.

Remember:

Forced marriage places children and Adults at Risk of rape and possible physical harm. Some cases have resulted in children being murdered. Where an allegation of forced marriage, intended forced marriage or honour based violence is raised, the following steps should be taken in addition to the steps outlined above for all professionals:

  • Contact the Forced Marriage Unit at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for advice (see Appendix 6, Useful Contact Numbers);
  • Where there are concerns for an individual under 18 or the young person has children, activate local child protection procedures and use existing national and local protocols for multi agency liaison as set out elsewhere in this manual (and in accordance with Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015) and the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (2000));
  • Initiate a joint Child Protection Assessment with the Police Child Abuse Investigation Unit, until the Strategy Meeting has met, assessed the risk and decided on the plan for further investigation and assessment;
  • Liaise with the police if there are immediate concerns about the safety of the victim, their siblings or the victim's children especially if emergency police protection may be required;
  • Initiate a Strategy Meeting.

2.5 Strategy Meeting

For further details, see Strategy Discussions Procedure

In all cases where the police, Children, Young People & Families or any other agency or professional involved, have a reasonable suspicion, at the outset, that forced marriage or honour based violence is a possible feature, the joint planning will begin with a Strategy Meeting, which must include, at the very least, police officers and social workers, but which might include all the agencies connected to the child or young person at the centre of the case. Consideration should be given to inviting a childcare solicitor from Legal Services, Oxfordshire County Council. Where a child or young person is considered to be directly at risk of forced marriage or honour based violence, the Police Child Abuse Investigation Unit should be involved. Where a child or young person is considered to be indirectly at risk of honour-based violence towards a parent or adult family member the Police Domestic Violence Unit should be involved.

The purpose will be to share all available information and to agree a plan for joint investigation and to ensure that the child/young person is appropriately safeguarded and protected in the immediate short term.

This meeting will be chaired by the relevant social care manager, and will be recorded.

The meeting will also need to develop careful plans for working with the young person's family in order to assess the child and family's circumstances. Steps should be taken to prevent additional risk to the young person through attempts by professionals or community leaders to mediate with family members in advance of an assessment of risk being completed.

2.5.1 Risk Factors

Serious - Severe

The meeting will need to consider whether the young person is in imminent danger of forced marriage, honour based violence, abuse, suicide or self-harm. The following list of circumstances is intended to be illustrative, not exhaustive:

  • Imminent threat of honour based violence or forced marriage;
  • Forced marriage has taken place and the young person is living with his/her spouse against his/her will;
  • Imminent threat of removal from the country for the purposes of marriage;
  • Evidence or intelligence of actual physical, emotional or sexual abuse;
  • Permanent withdrawal from school or college by parents of the young person;
  • Imprisonment within the home, either complete or for extended periods which prevent the young person from continuing their normal education, work or social activities (this does not include being 'grounded' for short intervals);
  • Suicidal intent, risk of self-harm;
  • Evidence and risk factors assessed as Scale 3 & 4 (Serious and Severe) in the Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Matrix (see Appendix Three - Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Matrix).

Factors which can raise the level of risk are, for example, the young person being pregnant, having a secret boyfriend/girlfriend, being already secretly married, self-harming or regularly indulging in risky behaviours or reported as a missing person.

If it is established that there is imminent danger of forced marriage or honour based violence the case must be progressed as a Child Protection Assessment under Section under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 as a joint-agency investigation - see Child Protection Assessments Procedure.

Moderate - Serious

The following circumstances are examples of risks, which require further assessment, under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, in relation to children and families in need of support, but is not exhaustive.

  • Threat of forced marriage which is not imminent, but may be expedited as a means of parents regaining control over a young person who is not conforming to expectations;
  • A planned future trip abroad for the purposes of marriage;
  • A family with complex needs for whom a forced marriage for one member would relieve intolerable stress;
  • A young person who is in frequent conflict with parents, who is seeking help to cope with the situation and fears that a forced marriage may be threatened;
  • A family who is under pressure to honour a previous promise of marriage despite the young person's refusal;
  • A family in which there is a pattern of bullying, but does not reach the threshold of risk of Significant Harm or require action under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989;
  • A family in which another family member is known, or suspected, to have been forced into marriage (NB This does not apply to a consensual arranged marriage);
  • Evidence and risk factors assessed as Scale 1, 2 & 3 (Moderate-Serious) in the Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Matrix (see Appendix Three - Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Matrix).

In these circumstances, the assessment should be undertaken by the Children's Assessment Team (Children Young People & Families) as a single agency in liaison with other professionals and community organisations. In carrying out the assessment under Section 17, the Children's Assessment Team should keep the risks under constant review.

2.6 Outcome of the Strategy Meeting

  • Agree a plan which details the actions to be taken; the responsible professionals and agencies; clear timescales depending on the risk assessed;
  • Identify who will continue to liaise with the young person;
  • Agree how family members should be approached and assessed, with regard to the risks posed to the young person and professionals;
  • Establish that there are no other children at risk within the family;
  • Identify if there are members within the young person's extended family or community who can assist in ensuring the young person's safety;
  • Identify if there are members within the young person's extended family or community who may increase the risks to the young person should they become alerted to the investigation and assessment;
  • Set dates for further Strategy Meeting to re-convene to review the investigation and risk assessment, if required;
  • The contingency plan (see Section 2.9 Contingency Plan Should Risks Increase).

2.7 Cases which Proceed Under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989

These cases should proceed as joint investigations with the Police and Children, Young People & Families working together. A Child and Family Assessment should be completed in all cases:

  • An Initial Child Protection Conference should be convened in order for a multi-agency group to assess the risk and arrive at an appropriate outline Child Protection Plan;
  • Consider the need for immediate protection and placement away from the family. A childcare solicitor in the County Council's Legal Services Department should be consulted whenever there is the possibility of accommodating a young person, or assisting the young person to move away from home;
  • Consider the need for Care Proceedings in order to ensure the local authority shares Parental Responsibility for the young person and can place the young person without disclosing the address to the family, should this be necessary;
  • Advice should be sought from the Forced Marriage Unit at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (see Appendix Six - Useful Contact Numbers).

2.8 Cases which Proceed Under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989

  • Consider the need for a Child and Family Assessment and a Family Support Conference or a Family Group Conference;
  • If there has been a suspicion or threat that the young person may be forced to marry on a trip abroad, advice should be sought from the Forced Marriage Unit at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on the safeguards that can be put in place with the consent and co-operation of the young person. This can include arrangements to prevent the young person from travelling, or contacts to help them whilst abroad.

Many families for whom forced marriage is a threat are experiencing a wide range of complex difficulties. Social workers should undertake a holistic approach and be aiming to understand the function that this threat has in the family and in the community. The work should be carried out without minimising the unacceptable nature of forced marriage; and without minimising the risk that a forced marriage may be brought forward and expedited without warning.

Examples:

  • Forced marriage may be viewed by parents as a means of bringing a 'troublesome' adolescent under control. The social worker should explore the potential within the family and/or the community to find other solutions to the problem which do not entail coercion or abuse;
  • The threat of forced marriage may be the means by which a young person attracts the assistance of agencies in helping him/her to resolve intolerable conflict within their family. The social worker should explore sources of support for both parents and young person within their wider family, community and professional network which could resolve the tension and reduce the threat of forced marriage.

In such cases, the use of community conferencing (family group conferencing which engages and builds the community's capacity to support the family) has proved to be a constructive way forward in other local areas. This option should only be considered once the agencies have assessed that the imminent risk of forced marriage or honour based violence has been averted and that all short-term measures have been put into place to reduce the risk of these occurring.

If the risk of forced marriage appears to be much lower than first presented, an alternative means of supporting the child and family may be through a Team Around the Child, led by a professional from within the young person's usual range of services, e.g. school, college, youth service etc.

2.9 Contingency Plan Should Risks Increase

When arriving at a plan, the Strategy Meeting needs to be aware that in carrying it out the family may deny that forced marriage is an issue, move the young person, expedite any travel arrangements and bring forward the forced marriage. The family's response to professional intervention may include abuse or violence towards the child.

If the assessment proceeds as a joint investigation between the Police and Children, Young People & Families (as a Child Protection Assessment), there should be an agreed contingency plan that identifies the ongoing risk-monitoring and triggers to emergency protective action.

If the assessment proceeds under Section 17, led by Children, Young People & Families alone, there should be an agreed contingency plan that identifies the ongoing risk-monitoring and triggers to re-involve the police, take emergency protective action and initiate Section 47 procedures.

2.11 Maintaining Case Stability

In circumstances where a young person is not Looked After but is assisted by an Oxfordshire social worker or a police officer to move to safe accommodation or a refuge outside the county boundary, the case will remain open to the Oxfordshire agencies (NB. Legal Services should be consulted before taking this form of action).

The Oxfordshire professionals may seek the assistance of agencies within the 'receiving' authority, but will not attempt to negotiate the transfer of the case-responsibility until all assessments are completed, the risk is assessed to be low and the young person's situation is safe and secure.

In circumstances where a young person is moved into the county by another authority, Oxfordshire will expect that authority to maintain case-responsibility to the same extent. Oxfordshire agencies will negotiate and offer assistance where appropriate.

2.12 The Legal Position on Forced Marriage

Anyone threatened with forced marriage or forced to marry against their will can apply for a Forced Marriage Protection Order. Third parties, such as relatives, friends, voluntary workers and police officers, can also apply for a protection order with the leave of the court. Fifteen county courts deal with applications and make orders to prevent forced marriages. Local authorities can seek a protection order for Adults at Risk and children without leave of the court. Honour Based Violence and Forced Marriage: Guidance on Identifying and Flagging cases explains how local authorities can apply for protection orders and provides information for other agencies.

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 made it a criminal offence, with effect from 16 June 2014, to force someone to marry. This includes:

  • Taking someone overseas to force them to marry (whether or not the forced marriage takes place);
  • Marrying someone who lacks the mental Capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they’re pressured to or not).

Breaching a Forced Marriage Protection Order is also now a criminal offence. The civil remedy of obtaining a Forced Marriage Protection Order through the family courts, as set out above, continues to exist alongside the criminal offence, so victims can choose how they wish to be assisted.

Forcing someone to marry can result in a sentence of up to 7 years in prison.

Disobeying a Forced Marriage Protection Order can result in a sentence of up to 5 years in prison.


3. Identification of Honour Based Violence

A child or young person who is likely to suffer Significant Harm if s/he is the subject of honour based violence.

A child or young person may also suffer significant emotional harm through the threat of violence or witnessing violence directed towards a sibling or other family member.

3.1 Risk Factors

The perceived immoral behaviour which could precipitate violence include:

  • Inappropriate make-up or dress;
  • The existence of a boyfriend;
  • Kissing or intimacy in a public place;
  • Rejecting a forced marriage;
  • Pregnancy outside of marriage;
  • Being a victim of rape;
  • Inter-faith relationships;
  • Leaving a spouse or seeking divorce.

Murders in the name of 'so-called honour' are often the culmination of a series of events over a period of time and are planned. There tends to be a degree of premeditation, family conspiracy and a belief that the victim deserved to die.

Incidents, in addition to those listed above, which may precede a murder include:

  • Physical Abuse;
  • Emotional Abuse, including:
    • House arrest and excessive restrictions;
    • Denial of access to the telephone, internet, passport and friends;
    • Threats to kill;
  • Pressure to go abroad. Victims are sometimes persuaded to return to their country of origin under false pretences, when in fact the intention could be to kill them.

Young people sometimes truant from school to obtain relief from being policed at home by relatives. They can feel isolated from their family and social networks and become depressed, which can on some occasions lead to self-harm or suicide.

Families may feel shame long after the incident that brought about dishonour occurred, and therefore the risk of harm to a child can persist. This means that the young person's new boy/girlfriend, baby (if pregnancy caused the family to feel shame), associates or siblings may be at risk of harm

3.2 Response by all Professionals

When receiving a disclosure from a child or young person, professionals should recognise the seriousness / immediacy of the risk of harm.

For a child or young person to report to any agency that they have fears of honour based violence in respect of themselves or a family member requires a lot of courage, and trust that the professional / agency they disclose to will respond appropriately. Specifically, under no circumstances should the agency allow the child's family or social network to find out about the disclosure, so as not to put the child at further risk of harm.

Authorities in some countries may support the practice of honour-based violence, and the child may be concerned that other agencies share this view, or that they will be returned to their family. The child may be carrying guilt about their rejection of cultural / family expectations. Furthermore, their immigration status may be dependent on their family, which could be used to dissuade them from seeking assistance.

Where a child discloses fear of honour based violence, professionals in all agencies should respond in line with procedures for forced marriage, in Section 3.1, Risk Factors above. The professional response should include:

  • Seeing the child/young person immediately in a secure and private place;
  • Seeing the child/young person on their own;
  • Explaining to the child/young person the boundaries around confidentiality;
  • Asking direct questions to gather enough information to make a referral to the Children's Assessment Team (Children, Young People & Families) and the police, including recording the child's wishes;
  • Developing an emergency safety plan with the child;
  • Agreeing a means of discreet future contact with the child;
  • Explaining that a referral to the Children, Young People & Families and the Police will be made;
  • Record all discussions and decisions (including rationale if no decision is made to refer to the Children, Young People & Families).

3.3 Actions by Children's Assessment Team (Children, Education and Families)

The Children's Assessment Team should follow the steps outlined above for managing cases of forced marriage, i.e.

  • Initiate a Child Protection Assessment;
  • Convene a Strategy Meeting with the police and relevant agencies to assess the risk and plan the investigation and assessment process;
  • Carry out a Child and Family Assessment;
  • Take protective action where assessed to be necessary.

Professionals should refer to the risk factors in Section 3.1, Risk Factors, above, and the Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Matrix (see Appendix Three - Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Matrix) in making their assessments.

If there is insufficient evidence to assess the risk at the Strategy Meeting, the Children's Assessment Team and the police should proceed with their investigation and re-convene the Strategy Meeting when more information has been gathered.

Where the parent of a child is the person at risk of honour based violence the Responding to Children and Young People who are at Risk from Domestic Violence and Abuse - Policy and Guidance for Professionals Procedure should be followed.

Professionals should not approach the family until the Strategy Meeting has discussed the risk and staff have implemented any protective actions required to enable the investigation and assessment to proceed without increasing the risk to the child/young person or other family members.

Professionals should not approach community leaders, share any information with them or attempt to engage them in any form of mediation. In particular, members of the local community should not be used as interpreters, unless actions have been taken to verify that they would not undermine the protection of the child/young person or any other family member. In cases of honour based violence, every effort should be taken to employ interpreters from outside the community who do not share any misplaced belief that the violence can be justified for reasons of honour.

All multi-agency discussions should recognise each agency's role and responsibilities towards the child/young person and/or their parents, including the police responsibility to undertake a criminal investigation as appropriate.

Multi-agency planning should consider the need for providing suitable safe accommodation for the child, as appropriate.

If a child is at risk of being taken abroad, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office may be able to assist in preventing them from travelling or repatriating them to the UK.

If the investigation and risk assessment indicate that the risk of violence is lower than expected, a plan can be made for the Children's Assessment Team to assess the child/young person and family under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 (as a Child in Need) with a view to providing support.

3.3.1 Contingency Plan Should Risks Increase

Professionals need to be aware at all times that their involvement may be perceived to be threatening and lead to an unexpected or sudden increase in risk of violence.

If the assessment proceeds as a joint investigation between the Police and Children, Young People & Families, under Section 47, there should be an agreed contingency plan that identifies the ongoing risk-monitoring and triggers to emergency protective action.

If the assessment proceeds under Section 17, led by Children, Young People & Families alone, there should be an agreed contingency plan that identifies the risk monitoring and triggers to re-involve the police, take emergency protective measures and re-instigate Section 47 procedures.

3.4 Maintaining Case Responsibility

In circumstances where a young person is not Looked After but is assisted by an Oxfordshire social worker or a police officer to move to safe accommodation or a refuge outside the county boundary, the case will remain open to the Oxfordshire agencies.

The Oxfordshire professionals may seek the assistance of agencies within the 'receiving' authority, but will not attempt to negotiate the transfer of the case-responsibility until all assessments are completed, the risk is assessed to be low and the young person's situation is safe and secure.

In circumstances where a young person is moved into the county by another authority, Oxfordshire will expect that authority to maintain case-responsibility to the same extent. Oxfordshire agencies will negotiate and offer assistance where appropriate.


4. Specific Guidance for Police Officers Dealing with Honour Based Violence or Forced Marriage

4.1 Initial Action

Police officers should follow the procedures in Section 2.1, Response by all Professionals and Section 2.2, Professionals Should Not and in addition:

  • Obtain all details of the individual involved including date, place of birth, National Insurance number and consider retaining a copy of their passport(s) if available to prevent their removal from the country;
  • The officer dealing with report will inform the Duty Inspector/CAIU Detective Inspector and Sergeant of an allegation of honour based violence or forced marriage;
  • Complete HBV1 Risk Assessment (see Appendix Four - Thames Valley Police HBV1) in all cases and record this in IMM, mark the Child Abuse Risk Indicator and note in missing persons' database if the child was missing;
  • If the child is suffering or likely to suffer immediate Significant Harm consider using Police Protection powers with guidance from the Control Room and Duty Inspector;
  • At the earliest opportunity contact the Children's Assessment Team, Children, Young People & Families. If out-of-hours the contact should be made with the Emergency Duty Team;
  • Ensure that the individual has the nominated officer's contact details but avoid written contact cards etc as these may increase the risk if found by a family member;
  • Obtain a recent photograph or consider, with their consent, taking a photograph;
  • Photograph injuries and obtain medical consent form;
  • Note any distinguishing features e.g. birthmarks;
  • Flag the relevant addresses on Command and Control. This will assist in identifying locations or persons at risk in any future incident;
  • Consider raising the security level on the Command and Control log, CEDAR and missing persons' database as advised by Duty Inspector to prevent inadvertent disclosure of information to family members as this may possibly increase the risk to the child;
  • It is the responsibility of the reporting officer or Police Enquiry Centre Operator to obtain full details in order to ensure that all CEDAR records involving honour based violence are correctly identified as a crime related incident until the full offence is clearly shown and to bring it to the attention of the Child Abuse Investigation Unit (CAIU) via their supervisor;
  • Maintain a full record of the decisions made and the reason for those decisions in IMM.

4.2 Intelligence

  • Submit a confidential CID 72 for the attention of the PPU intelligence officer who will disseminate appropriately and continue to do so as the information is provided;
  • Continue to provide confidential intelligence if there is further or single agency action.

4.3 Investigation

In the event of an allegation of a criminal offence, the officer should secure and preserve all available evidence e.g. forensic, witness, CCTV etc. Make notes of the first account from the victim.


Appendix One - Quick Summary of Actions

All professionals:

  • Identify issue: Forced marriage or Honour based violence;
  • Facilitate disclosure and gather information from young person/referrer;
  • Begin to put in place safeguards and protective measures;
  • Refer to Children's Assessment Team, Children, Young People & Families - see Referrals (including Referrals Pathway) Procedure;
  • Refer to police if acute/immediate risk;
  • Attend Strategy Meeting if appropriate;
  • Contribute to decision-making process, as appropriate.

Children's Assessment Team, Children, Education and Families:

  • Follow advice for all professionals when interviewing the child/young person;
  • Initiate joint Section 47 Enquiry with the police - see Child Protection Assessments Procedure;
  • Put in place safeguards and protective measures as appropriate;
  • Strategy Meeting (Children, Young People & Families, police, relevant agencies);
  • Assess risk and decide whether to continue Section 47 joint enquiry (police & Children, Young People & Families) or to convert to Section 17 single agency enquiry (Children, Young People & Families);
  • Plan actions, responsibilities and timescales;
  • Contingency plan: triggers for emergency action etc;
  • Undertake a Child and Family Assessments and actions as agreed;
  • Proceed to decision-making process: Care Proceedings/Initial Child Protection Conference/Family Group Conference/Family Support Conference/Team Around the Child.

Police:

  • Follow advice for all professionals when interviewing the child/young person;
  • Carry out tasks detailed in Section 4, Specific Guidance for Police Officers Dealing with Honour Based Violence or Forced Marriage;
  • Put in place any immediate safeguards or protective measures only if circumstances are acute;
  • Undertake joint Section 47 enquiry with Children's Assessment Team, Children, Young People & Families;
  • Attend Strategy Meeting;
  • Assess risk as above;
  • Plan actions etc, as above;
  • Contingency plan, as above;
  • Undertake actions as agreed;
  • Contribute to decision-making process, as appropriate.


Appendix Two - Flowchart: Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence

Click here to view Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence Flowchart.


Appendix Three - Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Matrix

Click here to view Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Matrix.


Appendix Four - Thames Valley Police HBV1

Click here to view Thames Valley Police HBV1 Form.


Appendix Five - Guidelines for NHS Professionals - Warning Signs of Forced Marriage

Click here to view Guidelines for NHS Professionals - Warning Signs of Forced Marriage.


Appendix Six - Useful Contact Numbers

Forced Marriage Unit
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Mon-Fri 9am - 5pm
Emergency out-of-hours: FCO Response Centre 020 7008 1500

Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Service
Helpline
8am - 6pm Mon - Fri, 10am - 4pm Sat
0800 7310055

Muslim Women's Helpline
Mon-Fri 10am - 6pm
Advice: 020 8904 8193 / 020 8908 6715
Administration: 020 8908 3205

NSPCC Asian Child Protection Line
0800 096 7719

Reunite International Child Abduction Centre
Advice: 0116 2556234
Administration: 0116 2555345

Shelterline (Emergency Access to Refuge Services)
0808 800 4444

Southall Black Sisters
Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 10am- 12.30pm & 1.30pm - 4pm

Gatwick Travelcare

01293 504283

Heathrow Travelcare

020 8745 7495

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