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Mencap welcomes action on forced marriages for people with a learning disability
Tuesday 31 July 2012
Mencap has welcomed news that many local authorities are taking steps to introduce policies to tackle the issue of forced marriage involving people with a learning disability.
Learning disability charity Mencap has welcomed news that many local authorities are taking steps to introduce policies to tackle the issue of forced marriage involving people with a learning disability.
BBC Radio 4's Face The Facts has discovered that dozens of local authorities are stepping up their action to reduce the number of people with a learning disability involved in forced marriages, following a growing number of referrals to the Government’s Forced Marriage Unit.
In 2011, around 4% of the cases seen by the Forced Marriage Unit involved a person with a learning disability. This figure has increased year-upon-year in the past three years, but it is widely believed that this figure is vastly underestimated.
Wednesday’s Face the Facts highlights that the Social Care Institute for Excellence now has pan-London policies and procedures that all 33 London local authorities have signed up to. Those explicitly look at the issue of forced marriage for people that lack the capacity to consent to marriage. In addition, SCEI has recently developed pan-West Midlands policy and procedures which cover a further 12 local authorities.
Mencap’s chief executive Mark Goldring is interviewed by Face The Facts, in a programme which will air on Wednesday 1 August. Goldring says:
“People with a learning disability have a right to express their emotions and sexuality, and to develop personal relationships, just like anyone else. In fact, when asked what is important to them, many people with a learning disability put relationships at the top of their list.
“The issue here is that incidences of forced marriage can involve people with a learning disability who are unlikely to have the capacity to consent to such a relationship. People with a learning disability can be particularly vulnerable to forced marriage because they can be isolated, can find it difficult communicating their views or reporting abuse, or they may be particularly reliant on the people who are arranging the marriage.
“We believe that people with a learning disability should be provided with support to ensure that they can make a real choice regarding marriage and sexual relationships. We welcome steps by local authorities to address this serious issue.”
Face The Facts is on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday August 1st at 12.30 and repeated on Sunday August 5th at 21.00.
Notes to editors
For further information, please contact Pasca Lane on the Mencap media team on 020 7696 6017 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- About Mencap
There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability and their families and carers by fighting to change laws and improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
We are also one of the largest providers of services, information and advice for people with a learning disability across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. People with a learning disability and their carers can find out more about our services by calling Mencap Direct on 0300 333 111 or by visiting www.mencap.org.uk
- What is a learning disability?
A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life.
People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complex information and interact with other people.
The level of support someone needs depends on individual factors, including the severity of their learning disability.