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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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