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Archive for December, 2015

Only 18 FGM protection orders issued in three months despite thousands facing the illegal practice

Only 18 of the new specialist protection orders designed to shield young girls from female genital mutilation (FGM) have been issued since they were introduced three months ago, according to Government figures.

From July to September only 28 applications were made, of which 18 were approved; a remarkably small number considering the estimated 63,000 young girls who are at risk of undergoing the illegal practice, and the 170,000 women aged 15 and over who have already undergone it.

Speaking to the Guardian, Celia Jeffreys, head of the National FGM Centre, a partnership project between Barnardo’s and the Local Government Association (LGA), said that professionals tasked with protecting children need to be ‘braver’ in there use of the powers afforded by the protection orders.

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Met police not prepared in dealing with honour crimes, new report finds

The Metropolitan police (MPS) needs to be more prepared for how it would protect victims of honour based violence.

A new report, the first of its kind on honour crimes, found the force is under-prepared in keeping victims of forced marriages and female genital mutilation safe.

The report, carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), identified that the MPS struggled with enforcing protection and preventing the crimes from taking place. Honour-based violence is the term used to refer to practices used to control the behaviour of women and girls in order to protect supposed cultural and religious beliefs.

The London Borough of Hounslow was recognised last week for its work to eradicate violence against women, but it appears more work is yet to be done across London. A spokesperson for the Met told Getwestlondon: “The MPS is committed to continuing to work with affected communities, health, education, social care and other partners to tackle and eradicate honour-based abuse and harmful practises in all its forms.

“By working with affected communities, charities and public services, we aim to get a better understanding of the risks faced by victims to prevent such crimes taking place, safeguard victims and where appropriate bring offenders to justice.”

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Victims of honour crimes being failed by ‘majority of police forces’, says inspectorate

Victims of honour based violence are being failed by the majority of police forces in England and Wales, according to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

In its first ever inspection of the way police deal with honour-based violence, including female genital mutilation and forced marriage, HMIC reveals that just three out of 43 forces are properly prepared to deal with cases. And almost half of forces are not ready when it comes to being able to protect victims.

riting in the foreword, Sir Thomas Winsor, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, says: “Our findings show that honour-based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation are not yet being given the priority by the police service that victims deserve.”

The inspectors warn that existing laws do not fully cover the range of risks faced by victims. Although forced marriage and female genital mutilation are criminal offences in their own right, the report warns that there is “no bespoke provision in law for the protection of victims”in cases of honour-based violence which do not include these crimes.

Responding to the findings, Yasmin Khan, director of Halo Project, a charity which helps people who have suffered honour-based violence, said: “It is absolutely paramount that police and safeguarding agencies act swiftly and deal with risks associated with this abhorrent abuse. Too many victims are suffering unnecessarily due to the lack of training and procedures within many organisations.”

Sharia courts in Britain ‘lock women into marital captivity and do not officially report domestic violence’ says academic

Sharia courts operating in the UK are treating women as second-class citizens, a damning report has revealed.

The secretive Islamic tribunals, working mainly from mosques, settle financial and family disputes according to religious principles.

But the parallel justice system runs against the law of the land and is condemning British Muslim women to ‘marital captivity’ while failing to protect them from domestic violence, an independent study found.

In one controversial case, a sharia court refused to intervene even though a woman said her husband was denying her a divorce unless she gave him £10,000.

In another instance, a woman who claimed to be married to an abusive husband was told by a laughing judge: ‘Why did you marry such a person?’ Under Islamic law, men only need to say ‘I divorce you’ three times to separate from their wives while women need the sanction of clerics.

According to the report, a judge at an East London court told a couple who had already obtained a civil divorce that the paper counted for nothing.

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Muslim parents who murdered their teenage daughter in an ‘honour killing’ because she was having sex with a man they disapproved of are jailed for life in Germany

Muslim mother and father who murdered their own daughter for bringing ‘shame’ on the family because she had sex with a man they did not approve of have been caged for life in Germany.

The so-called ‘honour killing’ of Lareeb Khan, 19, was carried out by her father Azadullah, 52, who crept into her bedroom at night and strangled her while her mother Shazia, 42, looked on.

The killing was triggered because they learned she had tried to steal condoms for her illicit sex sessions with her lover. Both then disposed of the body of the ‘bright and talented’ youngster whose only crime was to fall in love with a 23-year-old man called Raheel they disapproved of.

The crime shocked Germany which is struggling with an influx of almost a million refugees, most of them Muslim, changing the face of the country forever. The case stokes fears of a schizophrenic society evolving with some immigrants unable to jettison values and beliefs that have no place in modern western societies.

Judge Volker Wagner referred to their right to live in their own cultural cosmos when he summed up before sentencing – but not at the expense of human life.

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Forced marriage victims in Bedfordshire urged to come forward and seek support

BEDFORDSHIRE police is calling for victims of forced marriage within the county to seek support as part of its 16 days of action against domestic abuse.

 Around 8,000 to 10,000 forced marriages occur each year within the UK and it remains grossly under-reported.

Last year Bedfordshire Police had 149 reports of honour based abuse or forced marriage, but officers say they know this figure doesn’t paint the real picture and this crime remains hidden for too long. The law to criminalise forced marriage was passed last year and Britain’s first successful forced marriage prosecution happened in June.

Forced marriage protection orders help in disrupting a family’s intention to marry their children off against their will. Police work closely with social services for young people where forced marriage or honour based abuse is an issue to ensure the safeguarding of the child and their siblings, as well as protect them from crime.

Detective Sergeant Elaine Cook, lead for the honour based abuse team at Bedfordshire Police, said: “The safeguarding of those subject to this brutality is a priority for Bedfordshire Police. The introduction of forced marriage protection orders has seen an impact in girls having the confidence to speak out and families being aware that this protection is available.

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