CONFIDENTIALITY IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE
REASSURE REPEATEDLY THAT THIS INFORMATION WILL NOT BE SHARED
(OR WILL NOT BE SHARED OUTSIDE THE AGENCY)
Provide a Safe Environment
Listen without judgement. Be prepared to have them confide in you about personal matters related to sexuality, forbidden relationships, etc.
Make sure that appointments are booked at times when the individual can attend in a safe and discrete way. For example: schedule a meeting during their lunch hour at school so they can attend without their parents’ knowledge.
Display relevant information about forced marriage and related topics so the person can see that she/he is not alone.
Duty to Report
Contact the nearest Children’s Aid Society agency to report the situation, or for further guidance and information at (416) 987-7725 or www.oacas.org.
Get the Details
(See Appendix D, Detailed Information Gathering Form)
Know the Legal Position
However, provisions present in immigration, family, and criminal law are often applicable to offences committed.
Criminal offences that may be applicable include:
- Sexual assault
- Threats to harm or kill
Inform the person of their legal rights and leave it to the client’s discretion whether or not to report to legal authorities.
- Do Not send the individual awaywithout assistance, in the belief that it is not your responsibility, or that you cannot help them
- Do Not approach the family or friends, unless they ask you to do so
- Do Not send the individual back to their family without their permission
- Do Not breach confidentiality
- Do Not attempt to be a mediator
- Do Not contact community leaders or members unless requested to do so by the client
- Do Not disclose immigration status to police or immigration authorities
- Do Not provide legal advice unless you are qualified to do so
Respect Client Rights
- Their personal wishes
- Their personal safety and level of risk
- Their confidentiality
- Receiving accurate information about their rights and choices
Things to Remember
Remember that you may only have one chance to meet, talk and consult with the person, so make efficient use of the time, get as many details as possible, and provide as much information and support as you can.
Keep Information Safe
Information from case and database files should be kept strictly confidential and preferably be restricted to named members of staff only.
When referring a forced marriage case to another organization, ensure that they are capable and have the resources to effectively, safely and appropriately handle the case.
Try to refer individuals, with their consent, to appropriate counselling services. For example: If the person belongs to the LGBTQ community, they need to be referred to counselling services familiar with their needs, in addition to specific services related to the issue of forced marriage.
Give them advice on what service they should expect and from whom.
Appropriate Case Worker
Give the person, when possible, the choice of the race and gender of the social worker who deals with their case.
Inform of Rights
Inform them of their right to seek legal advice and representation.
Provide them with personal safety advice.
Record any injuries and arrange for a medical examination. Keep detailed documentation of any injuries or history of abuse, as the police may require this for subsequent investigation or prosecution in related legal matters.
Keep a Record
Maintain a full record of decisions made and the reason for those decisions.
Given them Your Contact
Ensure that the individual has your contact details.