Introduction to Forced Marriage and Harmful Practices

Forced Marriage and Harmful Practices

Course Summary

Introduction to Forced Marriage and Harmful Practices

Learning objectives:

  • The different harmful practices being perpetrated against women and girls
  • Dealing with Violence Against Women
  • Power dynamics 
  • Identify the risk factors that can render women and girls vulnerable to harmful practices 
  • Identify the signs/symptoms that a woman or a girl is at risk of, or experiencing, harmful practice/s
  • The legislative and policy frameworks that exist for the prevention of harmful practices, the safeguarding of women and girls and the prosecution of the perpetrators
  • Identify key referral pathways

About the speakers: 

Debdatta Dobe, Southall Black Sisters

Debdatta is the Senior Policy Grants and Partnerships Manager at Southall Black Sisters (SBS) where she manages several strategic projects delivering holistic, culturally appropriate, specialised support to black and minoritised women and children, young women and girls and migrant women with no recourse to public funds. Debdatta is also involved in SBS’s policy advocacy and campaigns, particularly around securing greater, comprehensive protection for migrant women seeking to escape violence and abuse. 

Prior to joining SBS, Debdatta worked as a Lawyer and Researcher at Justice and Care and has taught at O.P Jindal Global University (where she served as Assistant Professor teaching Labour and Employment Law, Family Law and Feminist Legal Theory). She has an LLM (with a focus on Human Rights) from Harvard Law School.

Meena Patel, Southall Black Sisters

Meena Patel has worked for Southall Black Sisters (SBS) for thirty-six years.  SBS is a leading black women’s organisation with a national reputation for an expertise on violence against black and minority ethnic (BME) women, especially Asian women experiencing domestic violence and harmful cultural practices such as forced marriage. Meena joined SBS as a volunteer and helped with administration and casework. Her short term stay turned into a 36 year stint. In 1987 she was employed as a full-time admin/caseworker.  

Meena’s skill at casework has ensured the safety of hundreds of women. Her development of casework has formed the basic framework for the way that SBS conducts its work with clients and she has been involved in developing complex and specialist casework.  Meena has undertaken representational work for women in the High Court and at local courts and her involvement in cases has often been appreciated and commented on by other professionals, including the police, doctors, lawyers and judges.  

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