New legislation to help prevent forced marriages

By Amanda MacMillan

THE SCOTTISH Government launched a crackdown on forced marriages today (Thurs) – warning offenders they could be jailed under strict new laws.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon unveiled the new legislation which gives courts the power to issue Forced Marriage Protection Orders aimed at keeping those most at risk safe and also helping those threatened with being taken abroad against their will.

Speaking at Shakti Women’s Aid in Edinburgh, where support workers help young women who experience domestic abuse and provide assistance to those who are being forced into marriage, Ms Sturgeon said: “This is a very important piece of legislation to protect people from being forced into marriages against their will.

“Arranged marriages are established parts of the customs of many faiths in Scotland and where there is consent on both sides that is not an issue. Continue reading

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Prostitution is not a choice: nine out of 10 women want out

By Christine Lavelle

DAMNING new evidence was unveiled yesterday showing that not enough effort is being put into helping women escaped Scotland’s sex trade.

Fears have also been raised about the affect prostitution, sex theme bars and magazines are having on the nation’s children.

A new project launched yesterday which aims to highlight the problems and unite impact groups to do something about it revealed that:

  • Nine out of 10 women involved in prostitution in Scotland want to get out of it and never made the voluntary choice to enter the industry
  • 90 per cent of children aged between eight & 16 have viewed online pornography
  • A quarter of teenage girls think being a lap dancer would be a good profession
  • 63% of teenage girls said they would like to be a glamour model Continue reading

Scotland saw 53 child abductions last year

By Oliver Farrimond and Cara Sulieman

SCOTLAND has seen 53 cases of child abduction in the last year, according to figures released today.

Although the term abduction can cover a range of crimes, the cases include a 14-year-old schoolgirl who was forced into a car and sexually abused before being released by her captor.

Strathclyde Police had the largest number of cases in the last year, with 33 children being held against their will.

Politicians have vowed to do all they can to improve the system, saying that any case of abduction is “extremely traumatic” for the families involved.

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Flood warning as rain hits Scotland

Tourists sheltering from the rain

By Amanda Keenan

SCOTLAND was put on flood alert last night as heavy rainfall swept in across much of the country following weeks of sunshine which had caused some areas to issue drought warnings.

Flash warnings of heavy rain have been issued by the Met Office for large parts of Aberdeenshire, Moray, Tayside, Fife, Lanarkshire and the Lothian’s.

Persistent and heavy rain saw around 15mm fall within just three hours in some places early on and as much as 35mm was expected in others.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency said it was monitoring water levels on rivers across Dumfries and Galloway – just weeks after the region was subject of a drought order application.

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Lockerbie bomber won’t let public see his health records

By Cara Sulieman

THE LOCKERBIE bomber has banned his health reports from becoming public.

After being released with just three months to live last August, Abdelbaset al Megrahi has to provide East Renfrewshire Council with a monthly update on his health.

But his lawyers have been asked to prevent the public from getting their hands on the reports, which are used to keep to Scottish Government informed of the Libyan’s progress.

Opposition politicians have been calling for the information on his health to be made public. They argue that the public have a right to know what’s happening.

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