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  • What we do

    Empowering young people to feel they have the tools and confidence and support around the issues of family relationships which can lead to early and forced marriage and dishonour based violence.

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    Meet the professional, passionate and dedicated Freedom Team.

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    Aneeta's debut novel is a funny, easy to read and informative take on issues of forced marriage and a window into different cultures.

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    If you have a question or would like to leave us a message, or if you would like to share a related story with us for possible publication in our newsletter or web site we would like to hear from you.

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Latest News
Photo’s of our app launch 5th March - Lancaster House.

Freedom Charity

Young people in the UK can rely on the safety and security offered within their home, family and community. They grow up aware that they can trust the people around them, knowing that these same people have nothing but their best interests at heart.

But, there is a growing number of children who live in the UK, yet do not have this basic human right. Freedom Charity is here to help them.

"The long school summer holiday break has long been identified as a time when young people are at most risk of being taken and retained overseas for the purpose of marriage. This initiative from Freedom Charity is an essential tool in the continued campaign to empower young people in self-protection and to raise wider public awareness".

Anne- Marie Hutchinson OBE (Human Rights Lawyer)

Freedom Charity was established to save the lives of vulnerable children and young people who are at risk of, or are subjected to violent crimes, dishonour-based violence and forced marriages throughout the UK.

Freedom celebrates the UK’s cultural diversity and endorses all the traditions that these bring - but it makes a clear distinction between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage.

An arranged marriage is one which has been intermediated by a third party but crucially both individuals have a choice. If at first the match doesn’t succeed, it is up to the arranger to find other potentially suitable matches. In time a match will be found and both individuals and their families can be confident that, by having a free choice, a happy union will unfold.

This stands in sharp contrast to a ‘forced’ marriage where there is no choice whatsoever. The practice of forced marriages and dishonour-based violence is not acceptable and the rights of UK citizens, and especially young people, have the full protection of by the law.

Freedom believes we all should be entitled to choose who we wish to marry. This is a basic human right and in the UK appropriate measures are in place to ensure the safety and protection of its most vulnerable citizens

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BOOK

Aneeta's debut novel is a funny, easy to read and informative take on issues of forced marriage and a window into different cultures.

Read BINF and watch the video clips

But its Not Fair Book

forced Marriage

Forced Marriages
Freedom believes we all should be entitled to choose who we wish to marry. This is a basic human right and in the UK appropriate measures are in place to ensure the safety and protection of its most vulnerable citizens
If you are worried about a friend who is exhibiting any of the above signs and fear that they may be forced into a marriage, tell your teacher or your school mentor. You can say that you wish to remain anonymous.
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Freedom celebrates the UK's cultural diversity and all the traditions that these bring - but it makes a clear distinction between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage. Read More

An arranged marriage is one which has been intermediated by a third party but crucially both individuals have a choice. If at first the match doesn’t succeed, it is up to the arranger to find other potentially suitable matches. In time a match will be found and both individuals and their families can be confident that, by having a free choice, a happy union will unfold.

This stands in sharp contrast to a ‘forced’ marriage where there is no choice whatsoever. The practice of forced marriages and dishonour-based violence is not acceptable and the rights of UK citizens, and especially young people, have the full protection of by the law.

Signs of Forced marriages

No two cases of Forced Marriage are the same and you will know your friends and classmates better than anyone else.

There are signs that may suggest that your friend is in trouble and threatened with a Forced Marriage.

Key signs to look out for:-

  • Your friend seems anxious and depressed.
  • Your friend may appear generally flat and not interested in life.
  • Your friend seems withdrawn and reluctant to talk about what is going on in her family or about her family members.
  • Your friend may have told you that some of her/his brothers or sisters have been married at a very young age.
  • Your friend may be suffering from mood swings and presenting challenging behaviour and in particular getting into trouble in the school.
  • Your friend may be attention seeking.
  • Your friend may lose interest in continuing with her education, taking little interest in homework and not seeming to be working towards exam success.
  • Your friend’s movements may be restricted by family members.
  • Your friend may be accompanied to and from school and not allowed to go to after school clubs.
  • Your friend may simply not come to school at all but at the same time not have told you that they are ill.
  • Your friend may disappear from social networks such as Facebook and instant messaging. Their Facebook may remain not updated for a long period of time.
  • Your friend in some cases may start self harming by cutting or develop an eating disorder especially anorexia.

The steps you can take.

If you are worried about a friend who is exhibiting any of the above signs and fear that they may be forced into a marriage, tell your teacher or your school mentor. You can say that you wish to remain anonymous. Tell your teachers that there are specialist police officers who can help. Tell your teachers that there is a Forced Marriage Unit at the Foreign Office. Give your teachers and your school the links and addresses that are in this book.

Many Forced Marriages take place in the school/college holidays. It is often very difficult for a young person to take steps to avoid going on holiday even though they are afraid that something will happen. This may be because they do not feel strong enough to take steps to protect themselves or they do not want to believe their family could do such a thing.

If your friend tells you that they think they may be forced into a marriage when they go abroad on aholiday, make sure they take these steps:-

  • Make sure they have a phone or SIM card that works abroad.
  • Make sure that they have a specific code so that you know that it is them that is texting or contacting you rather than somebodyelse using their phone.
  • Agree a secret set of words that you know will mean they are in trouble and need help but which no one else will suspect, for example, ‘What’s happening on Hollyoaks?’.
  • Agree on a date by which if they are not back, you have permission to tell a teacher or somebody else in authority about your concerns.
  • Before they go, tell them to try to get an address or at least the area of the country they are going to and the names of the family members they are visiting.
  • Tell them to leave a note of their passport number and the full names of their parents and any adult siblings with you to keep in a safe place.
  • Give them the number of the Forced Marriage Unit and ask them to memorise it.
  • Make sure that they have the address of the British Embassy or High Commission in the country they are going to – you can get this from the Forced Marriage Unit or from Freedom Charity.
  • Ask them to leave a photograph with you to keep in a safe place.
  • Try to persuade your friend to discuss the concerns that they have about the holiday before they go with an advice worker, police officer, the Forced Marriage Unit or a lawyer
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