VICTIMS of domestic abuse, including those who lost their lives through honour-based killings, are being remembered as part of Warwickshire County Council’s (WCC) ongoing commitment to keep residents safe,
The council is using National Remembrance Day for victims of honour killings to remind people of local support available in the county.
The council works closely with Warwickshire Police and service provider Refuge Warwickshire to offer help and ongoing support to anyone affected by abuse, and their dependants, throughout the county.
In addition to helping people who may be subjected to physical, emotional, sexual or financial abuse by a partner at home, the services work with those who suffer at the hands of their community. They do this by raising awareness of honour-based crimes and cultural practices that cause physical and mental harm.
Support includes someone to talk to, refuges, independent advocacy and culturally specific help such as translators and help with immigration applications.
The culturally specific support is helpful for people in danger of honour-based violence or even killing, committed in the belief that the act defends the ‘honour’ of a family or community.
This form of violence takes many forms and triggers can involve someone’s refusal to marry a chosen suitor, coming out as gay or other normal society choices that some communities disapprove of.
WCC leader Izzi Seccombe said: “Too many people suffer at the hands of an abuser and many lives are tragically broken or lost to these crimes. Like other forms of domestic abuse, honour-based violence needs to be highlighted to help victims come forward so more lives can be saved. The council is working with partners to provide support and guidance to all of those who find themselves in these most dreadful of circumstances.
“In remembering those that have been killed because of domestic abuse and so called ‘honour killings’, we must stress that such actions are illegal in the UK and perpetrators will face a lengthy prison sentence. We stand by anyone suffering and encourage them to find support from the council and our partner agencies.”
The National Remembrance Day for victims of honour-based killings coincides with the murder of British teenager, Shafilea Ahmed. Shafilea or Shaf, as she was more commonly known to her friends, was killed by her parents for refusing an arranged marriage to a much older man. Her parents also believed she had become ‘too westernised’. Both parents were convicted of murder and received prison sentences of 25 years.
For enquiries about forced marriages or honour-based abuse, please call the West Midlands Forced Marriage and Honour Based Abuse 24 Hour Free Helpline on 0800 953 9777.
Anyone suffering any kind of abuse is being urged to remember they are not alone. The county council and its partners are there to help. Anyone suffering at the hands of an abuser can call 0800 408 1552. Alternatively, email [email protected] or visit www.refuge.org.uk