11 July 2019
Support available for victims of honour-based abuse
People suffering honour-based abuse are being urged to seek help and support as Sandwell marks an annual Day of Memory on Sunday (14 July) to remember lost victims.
The special day was inspired by Bradford-born Shafilea Ahmed, aged 17, who was murdered by her parents in 2003 because they believed she had brought shame on their family. Shafilea Ahmed went missing from her home in Warrington and her body was found in a suitcase in Cumbria six months later.
Shafilea’s parents were convicted of her murder and jailed for life.
The annual Day of Memory remembers both men and women affected by honour-based abuse.
The term honour-based abuse refers to controlling behaviour including physical violence motivated by a perceived need to maintain, or restore, family honour.
The punishment for bringing dishonour can be emotional abuse, physical abuse, family disownment and, in some cases, murder. There are an estimated 12 ‘honour killings’ each year in the UK although the exact number is unknown.
Women are predominantly but not exclusively the victims. Men can also be victims, sometimes because of their involvement in what is deemed to be an inappropriate relationship, if they are gay, or if they are believed to be supporting a victim.
Councillor Farut Shaeen, cabinet member for living healthy lives, said: “Honour-based abuse is sadly under-reported. All cases should be reported to the police and other services.
“I would urge anyone who is suffering this abuse should report it to the police on 101 or, in an emergency, 999.
“And anyone who is concerned that someone they know is a victim of honour-based violence should report it to the authorities as soon as possible.”
People can seek support from Black Country Women’s Aid on 0121 552 6448, which is available 24 hours a day. Black Country Women’s Aid supports female and male victims of forced marriage and honour-based abuse.
People concerned about a child who may be a victim of forced marriage or honour-based abuse should contact Sandwell Children’s Trust 0121 569 3100.
People can also call the UK helpline for victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage Karma Nirvana on 0800 5999 247 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.