HISTORY

AFCS was registered as an independent national family counselling service in 1985. It provided a sensitive and appropriate counselling service to the Asian communities settled in Yorkshire. From 1983 to 1985, it operated under the aegis of the then National Marriage Guidance Council.

Objectives
a) To advance education among persons of Asian origin and in particular, among such persons resident in the UK, about all aspects of marriage and family relationships with a view to developing personal responsibilities and enriching family life.

b) To safeguard and protect the good health, both mental and physical, of adults and children of Asian origin, resident in the UK and to prevent the hardship and distress caused by the breakdown of marriage.

c) To educate the public, statutory and voluntary organisations about the difficulties of the Asian population.

Forced Marriages
In 1986, AFCS organised a seminar in Bradford on ‘Runaway Asian Girls', which was attended by a number of statutory and voluntary agencies. This was the first ever acknowledgement that Asian families were undergoing family stress which was affecting the majority of communities. Young women were being forced into marriages and were being taken out of Britain to be married and left in the Indian Subcontinent.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Five years ago, AFCS helped the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to establish a special unit to deal with the issue of forced marriages. An AFCS counsellor has been seconded to the Foreign and Commonwealth office to provide this specialised form of counselling. AFCS works closely with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on the issue of forced marriages.

Young Asians
Demand for counselling is increasing among Asian families. Second and third generation Asians who were born and brought up in the UK have adopted Western ways. This has created a great deal of tension in many families. The younger generation feel that they not only have to cope with what they perceive to be the generation gap but also a ‘culture gap'. Young people feel they are in between two cultures. They are under pressure to conform to the Asian culture but are unable to do so, as they want to keep up and fit in with their peer group.

Asian Women
Many Asian women have changed, becoming more assertive. Young girls expect a different kind of marriage from that experienced and expected by their mothers and grandmothers.

Domestic Violence
AFCS works actively with families where domestic violence is the main cause of family breakdown.  It has close links with the Police in every part of the country. Safe houses can be arranged for women undergoing domestic violance




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