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School Children Fear Forced Marriage

Children as young as twelve are seeking help from ChildLine after becoming worried they will be forced to marry against their will.

Latest figures from the charity show that the number of contacts - online and phone - about the issue has shot up by two-thirds in the last year, to 141. Some children have been threatened by their families and in one in ten cases there has been violence.

Just over a quarter of the children and young people who contacted ChildLine to talk about concerns around forced marriage were aged 12-15. The majority of the calls and online contacts the service received - 108 - were from girls.

Dr Ash Chand, the NSPCC's strategy head for minority ethnic children said:

"The change in the law to make forced marriage a crime in England and Wales is a huge step forward, and we hope this will deter those plotting against their own children.

"However, there is still much work to be done. Choosing a life partner is a basic human right and no religion or culture condones forced marriage. Yet despite this many children and young people are being coerced or even forced to do so without their consent.”

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