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Approaches to honour and forced marriage

Issues relating to honour and forced marriages are very complex indeed ("Murdered for the sake of honour", 15 June). They require an equally sophisticated response. Everyone concerned would benefit from referring to the excellent document produced under the previous government, A Choice by Right. One of its particular strengths was that it had the support of the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities through the involvement of Lord Ahmed and Baroness Uddin. The document recommended an eight-step approach to the problem:

- commitment (a shared approach being taken by all);

- safety and protection of the young people to be at the heart of any response;

- sensitivity to cultural values while not allowing beliefs to be used as an excuse to deny young people their human rights;

- involving communities so they feel properly listened to;

- multiagency approach taken so schools are not expected to single-handedly tackle the issues;

- monitoring in order to capture the full extent of the problem, including the hidden cases;

- training of all front-line personnel so that they have the necessary understanding;

- promoting awareness of rights and services among the young people and those who work with them.

Karamat Iqbal, Director, Forward Partnership.

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