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Family court bans teenage girls from travel abroad

Five teenage girls living in Tower Hamlets have been banned from travelling abroad by a family court.

Authorities believed the youngsters – three 16 year-olds and two 15 year-olds –planned to travel to Syria to join Islamic State.

Their local authority in the central London borough launched legal proceedings after becoming concerned for the girls’ welfare. At the subsequent hearing, Mr Justice Hayden made the girls wards of court and confiscated their passports.

The Judge also confiscated the passports of a number of family members. Some had not been honest with social workers, he declared, and there was evidence to suggest that the girls had been radicalised. The families must have known this, but they had not told “the authorities who were keen to protect these vulnerable young girls” he added.

Mr Justice Hayden had ruled on a very similar case earlier in the week, when 16 year-old was made a ward of court and forbidden from travelling abroad after his older brother was killed fighting in Syria. Brighton and Hove City Council applied to the court for the restrictions.

The Judge said the risks of travelling to Syria were currently “grave”.

“As I said early this week in another case, and I repeat it in this, sometimes the law has to intervene to protect these young people, ultimately from themselves.”

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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