National Day of Remembrance for victims of honour-based abuse
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Tuesday 14 July 2020 is designated as a national day to remember the victims of Honour based abuse and forced marriage. The date was selected in memory of Shafilea Ahmed who was murdered by her parents in an honour killing in September 2003. 14 July is Shafilea’s birthday.
Forced marriage is a criminal offence in the UK and takes place against someone’s will. Emotional, physical or financial pressure may be used to force the victim to marry, often by their family.
Honour Based Abuse is a violent crime which includes patterns of coercive behaviour which can often be perpetrated by family members. This practise is used to control the victim’s behaviour and ‘protect’ cultural or religious beliefs. Abuse can include serious offences such as murder, rape or false imprisonment.
Victims are predominantly, but not exclusively, women, and this type of abuse is distinguished from other forms of violence, as it is often committed with some degree of approval and/or collusion from family and/or community members.
Men can also be victims, sometimes as a consequence of their involvement in what may be deemed to be an inappropriate relationship, if they are gay, or if they are believed to be supporting a victim.
Honour-based abuse cuts across all cultures, nationalities, faith groups and communities, traditionally where a culture is heavily male-dominated. Relatives may conspire, aid, abet or participate in honour-based abuse, for what might seem to outsiders as a trivial transgression.
Detective Sergeant Vicki Keegans from North Wales Police’ Protection of Vulnerable People Unit said: “Today is National Day of Remembrance for victims of Honour Based Abuse who have been murdered by their families in the name of honour. Betrayed by those they love. This heinous crime is often committed by multiple perpetrators including mothers, sisters, aunties and even grandmothers.
“There is no honour in abuse, and culture, religion and tradition are no excuse.
“Together with our partners, we are working constantly to raise awareness, educate, and build trust so victims come forward to report these horrendous crimes.
“There is support available and we are dedicated to keeping you safe and ending this abuse. You can speak to us in confidence. We will be able to assess your situation, advise you, and also refer you to support organisations.
“We will not tell your family that you have contacted us.”
Karma Nirvana are a specialist charity for victims and survivors of Honour Based Abuse in the UK. They were founded in 1993 by Dr Jasvinder Sanghera CBR after she escaped a forced marriage at 15 and tragically lost her sister to Honour Based Abuse.
Karma Nirvana run the national HBA helpline and they train frontline practitioners and professionals. They also campaign for change, working with parliamentarians and policy-makers.
42 NWP Detectives have received police training in HBA from Karma Nirvana. Control room staff, front line local officers and all Detectives are trained to recognise and respond appropriately to any reports in HBA so be reassured we are ready to act.
Are you afraid you may bring shame to or dishonour your family?
Have you been emotionally or physically abused?
Do you worry about being disowned?
Are you being pressured to get married against your will?
Your personal safety is important. If you feel that you are in danger, you should contact the police immediately.
To report a crime, call police on 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.