Health workers to look out for victims of forced marriage

Staff at the Victoria Infirmary will watch for victims.
Staff at the Victoria Infirmary will watch for victims.

GLASGOW’S healthcare workers are being asked to keep an eye out for the victims of forced marriage.

Frontline health staff working in Scotland’s largest health board are being offered guidance on how to spot the signs and help patients.

Healthcare workers are in a unique position to be able to identify to help people who are in this position.

While the majority of victims are women, particularly from the South Asian community aged between 13 and 30 years of age, other groups are also at risk.

People with learning disabilities are sometimes exploited because of their potential to be the highest earners in a household due to the range of benefits and services they are entitled to.

Catriona Renfrew, NHS GGC’s director of corporate planning and policy, said: “We believe that everyone has a right to enter into marriage with their full and free consent.

“The Scottish government has introduced legislation to prevent an individual from being tricked into marriage and we recognise that our staff could be in a unique position to identify patients who are or have been coerced into marriage.

“We want staff to feel confident about the help, support and protection they can offer.

“It’s worth remembering that although the majority of victims of forced marriage are female, men can also be put under pressure, together with people with physical and learning disabilities.

“Lesbians, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people are also targeted as a means of repressing their sexual orientation”.