Forced Marriage of Young People with Learning Difficulties

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 18:45 in Discussion Forums
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Where: Dialogue Society, London
by Rachel Clawson, Development Manager, Safeguarding Disabled Children Services, Ann Craft Trust, University of Nottingham

Abstract

It is known that a significant number of people with learning disabilities are being forced into marriage by their own families and communities. The Foreign Office’s Forced Marriage Unit, set up in 2005 to tackle the problem, dealt with 400 cases in 2007 and approximately 80 of these involved adults or young people of school age with learning disabilities. The consequences of such marriages can be devastating and can include a range of abuse. This presentation aims to open debate in relation to the reasons why forced marriages take place, who may be most at risk and what can be done to support the people forced into marriage. It also aims to consider how the social care and health professionals working with them and their families can better recognise the potential indicators of forced marriage and offer the support and services needed.

Biography of Rachel Clawson

Rachael has wide experience in the safeguarding field having worked as a local authority social worker both in mainstream and disabled children’s teams for a number of years in Devon, York and Nottinghamshire before taking up her previous post as a team manager for the disabled children’s team in Nottinghamshire in 2003. She has been involved in a variety of work initiatives including devising and facilitating training programmes on safeguarding disabled children, policy writing and is a member of the Disabled Childrens Sub Group of Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board. Rachael has worked for the Ann Craft Trust as an associate trainer, is a qualified practice assessor and currently also works as a tutor on the MA Social Work programme at the University of Nottingham.

Her publications include:

  • Kitson. D & Clawson. R (2007) Safeguarding Children with Disabilities in Wilson. K & James. A (eds) The Child Protection Handbook. [3rd edition]
  • Clawson. R (2008) Working with Disabled Children and Adults in Wilson. K, Ruch. G, Lymbery. M, & Cooper. M Social Work: An Introduction to Contemporary Practice.

Biography of Deborah Kitson

Deborah Kitson worked for Nottinghamshire Social Services (1977-1992) as a social worker with children and adults with learning disabilities before being appointed as Implementation Officer for Nottinghamshire Abuse Procedural Guidelines based in the Department of Learning Disabilities at the University of Nottingham. She assisted in the production and revision of the guidelines and is now a consultant for other agencies developing policies and guidelines on sexuality and the protection of people with learning disabilities

Deborah was co-ordinator of the Ann Craft Trust from 1998 and was appointed as the Trust's Director in February 2002. She has continued to facilitate training on a wide range of associated issues. She represents the Trust on a number of government bodies and contributes to the planning and implementation of new national initiatives. She was also a member of the Steering Group of 'No Secrets' and is the external representative on a number of Adult Protection Committees.

Publications:

  • Kitson, D. (2004) Inquiries into the abuse of people with learning disabilities. In: The Age of the Inquiry. Rowman and Littlefield, Inc, Boulder, pp. 215-230.
  • Kitson, D. & Bailey, G. (2001) Facing the Possibility. ARC, Chesterfield, UK.
  • Kitson, D. & Clawson, R. (2007) Safeguarding children with disabilities in Wilson, K. & James, A. (eds) The Child Protection Handbook. [3rd edition]
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