Information for people who want to access the service

Is Bright Choices for me?

If you have found your way to this website, it means that something is worrying you, or you are worried about someone you know.

32% received support with immigration problems

Bright choices is for you if...

  • You and your family or your community disagree about your behaviour or something you believe in.
  • You want to do things differently for yourself or for your children but your community is threatening or excluding you for not doing things in the same way as them.
  • You or someone you know is being accused of bringing shame to your family or the community.
  • You have information about someone suffering because of shaming his/her family.
  • Your husband’s or your wife’s family is treating you badly.
  • You are experiencing pressure to marry someone you don’t want to marry.
  • You want to leave your marriage but your husband/wife or your family are putting pressure on you to stay.
  • You have suffered violence or abuse because someone said that you have brought shame on your family or your community.
  • You or somebody you know needs support to resolve a disagreement with his/her family.

If you are still not sure about whether Bright Choices is the right service for you, why not look at the other sections of this website- you will find example stories of the people we work with and more explanations about how we work. If you are still unclear, please get in touch with us by phone or by using the ‘contact us’ section and ask us any questions you might have.

45% received support to access appropriate mental health services

Frequently asked questions

Will anyone know I have contacted you?

Bright Choices is a strictly confidential service. We will not tell anyone that you are looking to access support from us unless you specifically ask us to or give us permission.

Will you discuss me with my family or my community?

Our goal is to design support that fits your needs. For this it is not necessary to involve your family or your community. We understand that sometimes in the situations we deal with, the problem can come from the family or the community; our primary goal is to keep you safe, so we will not do anything that might put you at risk.

What is confidentiality and how do you ensure it?

Confidentiality is our promise to you to keep your personal information private, such as your age, ethnic background, where you live, who your friends are etc.

The way we keep your information confidential is by making sure that anything you discuss stays between you and the worker supporting you. Although workers need to keep records, these are securely kept and any hard copies are kept under lock and key.

Do you ever break confidentiality?

There are some situations when we might need to do this. Sometimes it might be the case that the support we are offering you might not be enough for your specific situation. In this case, it might be helpful to either give you information or to refer to someone else for additional support. This could be your GP, another community organisation, a mental health professional, a social worker, etc. If we feel that this would be helpful, we would let you know our thoughts and discuss with you about accessing other services. We will always ask for your permission before referring you somewhere else or involving other professionals.

However, there are also rare occasions when we need to discuss something you have said to us with someone else in case of an emergency. This will only happen in very specific situations, for example:

  • If your life is at risk from yourself or from another person
  • If you pose a risk towards someone else
  • If you have information about a crime that is being committed or is about to be committed against another person or people
  • If you have information about a crime that puts or will put the general public in danger
  • If you know that a child or children might be at risk of harm.

Please always remember that we will not break confidentiality unless it is absolutely necessary. We will always do our best to discuss with you what course of action we need to take to keep you safe and why. We care about all the people we work with and we want to make sure that you stay safe during and after our work together.

Will you call the police?

Not unless it is absolutely necessary. We will not involve anyone else in the support we are offering you unless we need to. We will only call the police if we are seriously worried that a crime is being committed or is about to be committed.

Will you take me away from my home?

The work of Bright Choices aims at keeping the people we support safe, healthy and well. We hope to be able to do this by helping you to build positive relationships with your family and your community.

However, sometimes we recognise that this is not the best option for everyone. For people to stay safe, sometimes the best option is to live separately from their family or away from their community. This can be a temporary change, or something permanent-it depends on the specific situation of each individual. But please remember that we will do our best first to keep you safe in your own home and we will only help you to leave your home if there is no way to keep you safe there.

If I get help from you, does it mean that my loved ones are criminals?

The fact that someone needs help to stay safe in their family home does not mean that their family are criminals. It means that sometimes relationships can become strained and that makes the environment extremely difficult or unpleasant to live in.

To a degree this is normal in any family relationship-there will always be disagreements and arguments. However, sometimes relationships become so difficult that it feels impossible to resolve issues, especially when someone is seen as causing ‘shame’ to their family. At Bright Choices, we aim to help you before the situation becomes extreme by offering you the support you need to repair relationships with your family.

I worry that I will shame my family if I ask for help…

It is not shameful to ask for help. We all struggle with difficulties at different times in our lives and we all need a helping hand. It might feel difficult to talk to an outsider about your problems, but remember that our service is strictly confidential and we will not share any information that you give to us with any other person or organisation unless it is an emergency situation, or unless you specifically give us permission to do so.

What will the result be if I ask for help?

Unfortunately there is no easy answer to this question. Ideally, we aim to help people to feel confident, healthy and safe and to resolve any problems or disagreements that are causing them difficulty.

However, every person is unique and every situation is different.

Although we cannot promise you that everything will turn out the way you want it, we can promise to do our best to involve you in every step of the way and to always put you and your best interests first.

Stories

In this section you will find examples of the sorts of situations in which we can help people. These do not refer to real people, but they refer to situations in which Bright Choices support could be helpful:

Professionals in NHS, Education, Police Scotland, Students and the third sector were trained on how to recognise and respond to honour based violence

Story 1: Jatinder

Jatinder just applied to go to University and has been accepted. During the summer before her studies, her mum showed her the photos of 3 men who had made proposals to marry Jatinder. Jatinder knew that her mum and dad really wanted her to get married, but she wanted to finish university first. She felt confused, scared and unhappy.

Story 2: Farah and Umar

Farah and Umar married 15 years ago by arrangement. They are happy and have three children together who were born in the UK. Farah and Umar’s parents and their community don’t agree with how they are raising their three children-wearing Western clothes, planning to go to college and not arranging marriages for them. Farah and Umar have a good relationship between them but find it really difficult that their families and community are excluding them and calling them ‘shameful’.

Story 3: Asanabe

Asanbe is 12 years old and she will be starting high school in 3 months’ time. Her parents have arranged a holiday to their home country over the summer for 9 weeks. Asanbe can’t wait to go on the trip, but one day, her mum said to her that on this holiday she will become a real woman. Asanbe is very afraid because she has heard from other girls from her country that they got cut when they were 12. Some of them died or had serious problems because of the female genital cutting. Asanbe does not want to be cut and is very scared about going to her home country now.

Story 4: Farzana

Farzana came to the UK 10 years ago after she accepted a marriage proposal. She and her husband have a great relationship and two children. Farzana was happy until her mother-in-law moved in to the same house with her and her husband. Her mother-in-law has been bothering her, criticising everything that she is doing, telling her that she is a bad wife and mother, and if she talks back, her mother in law slaps her. Farzana told her husband but he keeps telling her to be patient. She feels very lonely and unhappy and she feels like nobody cares.

Story 5: Anand

Anand is about to graduate from college. He wants to spend the next year traveling. A month before his graduation, his dad explained to him that when Anand was 13, his parents promised to a couple from their community that when Anand finishes college he will marry their daughter. Anand was extremely upset about this as he did not know about the arrangement and he does not want to be married so young. He feels betrayed by his own family.

Story 6: Maria

Maria just found out that she is pregnant. She is feeling terrified because in her religion, women are not allowed to have relationships with men before marriage. She knows that if her parents find out they might force her to get married or to have an abortion so she is considering running away from home.

Story 7: Wekesa

Wekesa’s father just found out that he has a girlfriend. He became furious because Wekesa’s girlfriend is from a different community and doesn’t dress respectfully. Wekesa tried to explain that he loves his girlfriend but his dad slapped him and said that Wekesa was bringing shame to his own family and that he will arrange to take him out of his country to get him married to a good, respectable girl.

Story 8: Amina

Amina just got married to a man her family approved of. To her surprise, after about a week she found out that her husband drinks a lot and spends all his money playing cards. She begged him to stop but he started hitting her. Amina phoned her mum for help and advice but she said that it is the wife’s duty to stay with her husband. Amina is very depressed and wants to get a divorce but her mum told her that is absolutely out of the question!

Story 9: Mohammed’s daughter

Mohammed and his wife have a 5 year old daughter and they love her very much. The little girl’s grandparents told Mohammed and his wife that it is time to have the girl cut as per their tradition. Mohammed told them that cutting girls is illegal but they said that they can take her out of the UK to have her cut in another country. Mohammed does not want this to happen but he is afraid that she might be kidnapped and taken abroad to be cut.

Story 10: Miriam

2 days ago, Miriam snuck out of her parents’ house to go to a party that she wasn’t allowed to go. She a drink there but she does not remember what happened after or how she got home. When she woke up the next day her clothes were torn and she had bruises on her legs and belly. Miriam thinks someone took advantage of her but she cannot tell her parents because if her community finds out that she is not a virgin any more she will be shamed, thrown out of the house and she will never get married. She is terrified and feels she cannot talk to anyone.

Story 11: Hamid

Hamid is 15 years old and has a younger sister. Hamid has been feeling really confused when he started to have romantic feelings for Mike, a boy in his class. Hamid knows it is his duty to his family to get married and have children but he does not think that he likes girls and his feelings for Mike are very strong. Hamid is very worried because in his parents’ culture it is very shameful for men to fall in love with each other and if they knew they would punish him severely.

Story 1: Jatinder

Jatinder just applied to go to University and has been accepted. During the summer before her studies, her mum showed her the photos of 3 men who had made proposals to marry Jatinder. Jatinder knew that her mum and dad really wanted her to get married, but she wanted to finish university first. She felt confused, scared and unhappy.

Story 2: Farah and Umar

Farah and Umar married 15 years ago by arrangement. They are happy and have three children together who were born in the UK. Farah and Umar’s parents and their community don’t agree with how they are raising their three children-wearing Western clothes, planning to go to college and not arranging marriages for them. Farah and Umar have a good relationship between them but find it really difficult that their families and community are excluding them and calling them ‘shameful’.

Story 3: Asanabe

Asanbe is 12 years old and she will be starting high school in 3 months’ time. Her parents have arranged a holiday to their home country over the summer for 9 weeks. Asanbe can’t wait to go on the trip, but one day, her mum said to her that on this holiday she will become a real woman. Asanbe is very afraid because she has heard from other girls from her country that they got cut when they were 12. Some of them died or had serious problems because of the female genital cutting. Asanbe does not want to be cut and is very scared about going to her home country now.

Story 4: Farzana

Farzana came to the UK 10 years ago after she accepted a marriage proposal. She and her husband have a great relationship and two children. Farzana was happy until her mother-in-law moved in to the same house with her and her husband. Her mother-in-law has been bothering her, criticising everything that she is doing, telling her that she is a bad wife and mother, and if she talks back, her mother in law slaps her. Farzana told her husband but he keeps telling her to be patient. She feels very lonely and unhappy and she feels like nobody cares.

Story 5: Anand

Anand is about to graduate from college. He wants to spend the next year traveling. A month before his graduation, his dad explained to him that when Anand was 13, his parents promised to a couple from their community that when Anand finishes college he will marry their daughter. Anand was extremely upset about this as he did not know about the arrangement and he does not want to be married so young. He feels betrayed by his own family.

Story 6: Maria

Maria just found out that she is pregnant. She is feeling terrified because in her religion, women are not allowed to have relationships with men before marriage. She knows that if her parents find out they might force her to get married or to have an abortion so she is considering running away from home.

Story 7: Wekesa

Wekesa’s father just found out that he has a girlfriend. He became furious because Wekesa’s girlfriend is from a different community and doesn’t dress respectfully. Wekesa tried to explain that he loves his girlfriend but his dad slapped him and said that Wekesa was bringing shame to his own family and that he will arrange to take him out of his country to get him married to a good, respectable girl.

Story 8: Amina

Amina just got married to a man her family approved of. To her surprise, after about a week she found out that her husband drinks a lot and spends all his money playing cards. She begged him to stop but he started hitting her. Amina phoned her mum for help and advice but she said that it is the wife’s duty to stay with her husband. Amina is very depressed and wants to get a divorce but her mum told her that is absolutely out of the question!

Story 9: Mohammed’s daughter

Mohammed and his wife have a 5 year old daughter and they love her very much. The little girl’s grandparents told Mohammed and his wife that it is time to have the girl cut as per their tradition. Mohammed told them that cutting girls is illegal but they said that they can take her out of the UK to have her cut in another country. Mohammed does not want this to happen but he is afraid that she might be kidnapped and taken abroad to be cut.

Story 10: Miriam

2 days ago, Miriam snuck out of her parents’ house to go to a party that she wasn’t allowed to go. She a drink there but she does not remember what happened after or how she got home. When she woke up the next day her clothes were torn and she had bruises on her legs and belly. Miriam thinks someone took advantage of her but she cannot tell her parents because if her community finds out that she is not a virgin any more she will be shamed, thrown out of the house and she will never get married. She is terrified and feels she cannot talk to anyone.

Story 11: Hamid

Hamid is 15 years old and has a younger sister. Hamid has been feeling really confused when he started to have romantic feelings for Mike, a boy in his class. Hamid knows it is his duty to his family to get married and have children but he does not think that he likes girls and his feelings for Mike are very strong. Hamid is very worried because in his parents’ culture it is very shameful for men to fall in love with each other and if they knew they would punish him severely.