A WIDE-RANGING debate on forced marriage across Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale is to take place next month.

Members of the local community are invited to the Question Time style debate, which is designed to raise awareness of forced marriage as well as the help and support available locally to anyone affected by the issue.

People will get the chance to put their questions and comments to a panel of experts including the Detective Inspector in charge of Pennine Division’s Hate Crime and Diversity Unit, a local Imam and a member of the Home Office’s Forced Marriage Unit.

They will also get the chance to hear from a “survivor” – a woman who has experienced forced marriage for herself.

Detective Sergeant Phil Turner, from Pennine Division’s Hate Crime and Diversity Unit said: “Its aim is to raise awareness of forced marriage, encourage debate about the issue and improve knowledge of the support available from local agencies for anyone who needs help or advice.

“We hope the use of a Question Time-style format and panel of experts will help us to spark local debate and get across to people the differences between forced marriage and arranged marriage, why forced marriage happens and what people affected by the issue can do about it.

“The event is open to all sectors of the local community not just one particular faith group and we hope it will be well attended.”

The event has been funded with cash from the Community Cashback scheme.

It will take place on Tuesday March 9 at 6pm at the ACE Centre on Cross Street, Nelson and there are 160 spaces for local people wanting to attend.

Anyone who wants to attend must register to secure a seat at what is expected to be an interesting and popular event.

Anyone who wants to find out more or register their interest in attending should call 01282 472190 or yo0u can e-mail Pennine.event@lancashire.pnn.police.uk