Force supporting National Day of Remembrance for ‘honour-based’ abuse (HBA) and forced marriage
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Warwickshire Police is today (Thursday) supporting the National Day of Remembrance for ‘honour-based’ abuse (HBA) and forced marriage.
The date – 14 July – was the birthday of Shafilea Ahmed who was murdered by her parents in an honour killing back in September 2003.
'Honour-based’ abuse can affect men and women across all ages and a number of cultures and communities.
It is defined as a crime or incident committed to protect or defend the honour of the family.
It can take many forms – including physical, emotional, or sexual abuse – and can often be linked to instances of forced marriage.
The concept of ‘honour’ is for some communities deemed to be extremely important. To compromise a family’s ‘honour’ is to bring dishonour and shame, and this can have severe consequences.
The punishment for bringing dishonour can be emotional abuse, physical abuse, being disowned by your family and in some cases, even murder.
There are an estimated twelve 'honour' killings of British citizens every year; however it is widely believed that the real number is considerably higher.
There has been particular concern that those at risk may be much higher due to a lack of access to support following the COVID pandemic and limited international travel over the past two years.
But with international travel reopening this summer, the force is encouraging the community to report concerns if they believe someone is at risk of forced marriage or female genital mutilation (FGM).
Signs to look out for include:
Do older adults in the family talk on behalf of a person?
Is the person travelling to a country with a higher risk of forced marriage or FGM?
Is the person travelling abroad for a wedding or special event?
Is the person concerned they may not return to college or school?
Does the person seem anxious or scared or are they vulnerable?
Consider if “honour” is held high within their community.
Detective Chief Inspector Helen Waite stressed the importance of awareness around this topic.
She said: "Honour-based abuse can occur within all cultures and nationalities and can happen to victims of any age or sex. In most cases there may be several perpetrators from the victim's family, and also the wider community.
“Honour-based abuse does happen in our communities in Warwickshire and culture and tradition are not an excuse.
“We would always encourage those who are, or who may be, at risk of forced marriage, 'honour based' abuse and harmful practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to seek help.
“We have specially trained officers who can provide support and we also work closely with a range of partners, agencies and charities that can provide additional help.
“We are dedicated to keeping you safe and ending this abuse. You can speak to us in confidence, and we will be able to assess your situation, advise you, and refer you to support organisations. We will not tell your family that you have contacted us and we will do everything we can to prosecute those responsible."
IKWRO is a national charity offering support to Middle Eastern, North African and Afghan women and girls living in the UK, who have experienced, or are at risk of all forms of “honour” based abuse, including: Forced Marriage, Child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), or domestic abuse. They can be contacted on 0207 920 6460 or via their website
Karma Nirvana - The national 'honour based' abuse charity Karma Nirvanacan also help. They can be reached by calling 0800 5999 247 while advice is available on their website
Warwickshire’s Domestic Violence Service – provides advice and support to women, men and children experiencing domestic violence in Warwickshire. This includes culturally specific services, including support to victims of FGM, honour based violence and forced marriage. They can be contacted by email at [email protected], or phone 0800 408 1552 or via their website