Warwickshire Police supports National Day of Remembrance for 'honour-based' abuse - The Leamington Observer
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17th Aug, 2022

Warwickshire Police supports National Day of Remembrance for 'honour-based' abuse

WARWICKSHIRE Police is supporting the National Day of Remembrance for ‘honour-based’ abuse and forced marriage.

The day of remembrance is today (Thursday) as it 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 but 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 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).

Det Chief Insp 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 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”.

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