Archive for the ‘Honour Based Abuse’ Category

Convictions for honour crimes including FGM, rape and forced marriage plummet amid national police crackdown

Yasmin Khan, director of The Halo Project, argued that the criminalisation of forced marriage and the build-up to it led to more prosecutions and the decline since then was due to the issue being put on the backburner.

The campaigner, whose national charity supports victims of honour-based abuse, said the decline in prosecutions and convictions stemmed from a lack of awareness about the issue within both the police and the judicial system.

“There is a total lack of awareness among public bodies – the police, local council, health, education, and social services,” she said. “They do not know what signs to look out for and are not asking the right questions. Honour-based abuse causes long-lasting trauma and psychological impacts. We need to do all we can to help victims who are suffering sometimes years and years of abuse.

“We need to break the cycle so they don’t suffer in silence. There are serial offenders of honour-based abuse who have one victim after another in that family.”

A spokesperson for the CPS said: “Honour-based abuse is an incredibly complex crime and we know victims need extra support to help us successfully bring cases to court.

“We have agreed a joint protocol with the police to make sure investigative teams are using best practice and victims feel supported and protected.We can only charge cases that have been referred to us by police but where our legal test is met, we will not hesitate to prosecute.”

Convictions for honour crimes including FGM, rape and forced marriage plummet amid national police crackdown

Exclusive: ‘Perpetrators are not being held to account. The fall in prosecutions is massively concerning given more victims than ever are coming forward. It sends a message to communities that you can almost get away with it’

Convictions for so-called honour crimes perpetrated against women have plummeted in the past five years, The Independent can reveal, amid a nationwide crackdown aimed at bringing those responsible to justice.

The offences include coercive control, forced marriage and subsequent repeated rape, female genital mutilation (FGM), assault, threats to kill, attempted murder and even murder itself.

Figures from the Crown Prosecution Service show that successful prosecutions for crimes of honour-based abuse fell from 123 in 2013-14 to just 71 in 2017-18.

In an acknowledgement of the problem, a national campaign was launched this week – at the start of the summer school holidays – that saw police officers descend on airports across Britain to question families travelling to and from countries where the practices are prevalent.

Yarm School students host concert in aid of The Halo Project

STUDENTS at a sixth form have organised an evening of music to raise money for a women’s refuge charity.

Alex Dunn, 17, of Yarm School, was inspired after a visit from Middlesbrough charity The Halo Project.

The charity, which supports victims of forced marriage, FGM and domestic-based violence, spoke to the students about its work and upcoming projects.

The lower sixth student and his friend, Aislinn Kalya, 16, wanted to find a way to rally support for the charity.

Together, the pair have spent the last five months organising an Influential Women concert which will be held at the school’s auditorium next week.

Following the theme of influential women in music, Alex and Aislinn contacted local performing groups and musicians and have put together a jam-packed lineup of variety performance.

Alex said: “We thought it was really incredible what The Halo Project are doing and we decided to raise some money to help them.

“We’re hoping to raise a few thousand pounds to help them refurbish some of the safe houses and house some more.

“We have spoken to local acts who agreed to be part of it.

“I have been choreographing some dances for school pupils and putting together some performances.

“We have done all the brand and promotion ourselves. We have been out and handed out fliers in the local area. We made a trailer for the concert.

The concert will be held at Yarm School Princess Alexandra Auditorium on Wednesday 19th June at 7pm.

Tickets are £5 for concessions and children and £7 for adults and can be bought via the box office 01642 792587 or online at


I had the honour yesterday of listening to Yasmin Khan. Yasmin is the founder and chief officer of the Middlesbrough based Halo Project Charitywhich supports victims of honour-based violence, forced marriages and female genital mutilation (FGM).

As I listened to Yasmin, I was struck by the silence in the room. Silence, as we absorbed what we were hearing. Silence, as we heard Yasmin’s harrowing account of the experiences of some of the women who have been supported by the Project. And, silence because the criminal activity that the Project is helping to uncover and stop is so utterly hard to hear.

I tried to imagine how it must feel to live in daily fear for your life, at the hands of abject cruelty, within a community of people that are supposed to love, care for and nurture you. I couldn’t. And, since yesterday afternoon, I’ve thought so much about the people whose stories we heard. Women who have experienced the kind of physical and psychological pain that no person should ever have to encounter. Women who have been murdered because they have brought so-called ‘shame’ or ‘dishonour’ to the family. Women whose genitals have been mutilated by family members and the silence that surrounds this utterly despicable practice. Women who kill themselves because they can no longer cope with the abuse that they experience daily.

On International Women’s Day 2019, let’s talk about breaking the silence that surrounds these crimes. “Break the Silence” is the Project’s strapline, chosen for its aptness and relevance. The noise that’s being created by its existence is loud, necessary and crucial, generating conversations that need to happen in many different settings.

One of the ways that the conversation around FGM will be encouraged is during compulsory relationship and sex education in schools. By 2020, the physical and emotional damage caused by FGM will be discussed with students in secondary school education. Students will be taught that this practice is a form of child abuse and a criminal activity from which women and girls can suffer long-term damage to their phyiscal and mental health.

I have a long held view based on things that have happened in my life: the hardest conversations are the most important to have, yet are often the most difficult to hear. That’s why the room was silent yesterday when Yasmin spoke and what I heard made me think about how different my life is, compared to the lives of the women that the Halo Project supports and protects. It made me realise how easy it is to take my freedom for granted. It made me realise how fortunate I am. And it made me realise the importance of women using their voices to speak out and speak up for women whose voices are silenced.

Yasmin, your voice has spoken. You’ve taken action and brought about great change. Your Halo Project is saving, transforming and making safe the lives of so many. You should be very proud indeed. You’re an incredible woman of Teesside whose achievements I want to celebrate.

New approach needed to tackle honour-based violence in the UK says Manchester report

A raft of measures to help tackle honour-based violence (HBV) and support hard-to-reach communities should be introduced, according to a new report by Manchester Metropolitan University researchers.

The report calls on the government to create a new national framework to address HBV, alongside the appointment of a dedicated minister and new legal agreements with foreign governments.

Researchers from the University’s Manchester Law School presented their report to MPs and policy-makers at the House of Commons, outlining the findings of a year-long national roadshow.

The report, which is supported by Virendra Sharma MP and Pat McFadden MP, recommends establishing a separate government HBV unit and creating a national database to better record related statistics and data.

The report also recommends developing a new strategy to support men who are victims of HBV and forced marriage and increasing cooperation and communication between agencies when dealing with cases of HBV as well as developing advertising and awareness campaigns and introducing better training for interpreters working on behalf of victims

Dr Maz Idriss, Senior Lecturer in Law at Manchester Metropolitan, said: “While there are existing strategies aimed at preventing and supporting victims of forced marriages, there appears to be a lack of will and leadership from the government and policy-makers to prioritise HBV as a separate issue applicable to all government departments.”

Hosted by Manchester Metropolitan and the UK charity Jeena International, the HBV national roadshow took place in Manchester, Wolverhampton, Leeds and London. Each event was designed to raise public awareness of HBV and forced marriage, highlighting the issues facing both women and men.

Law ‘failing’ victims of honour-based violence

Agreements with foreign governments to investigate suspected killings abroad should be used to eradicate honour-based violence, campaigners have told MPs.

Legal agreements governing the detection, investigation and prosecution of “honour killings” committed abroad could pave the way for families of UK victims to achieve justice and send a strong message to the perpetrators that they would be vigorously pursued, a report said yesterday.

The report from the law school at Manchester Metropolitan University recommended that “caste” be specifically introduced to the concept of race under civil and criminal law and hate crime legislation, pointing to the link between caste and honour-based violence and forced marriages.

“No one should suffer violence or abuse because they belong to a different race or caste,” the report’s authors said.

FGM fears grow as number of at-risk or affected UK children doubles

London (CNN)Concerns about female genital mutilation, or FGM, are rising in the UK after the number of children who’ve had the procedure or are at risk of it more than doubled in the past year.

Social workers carrying out assessments in 2017-2018 classified 1,960 children as either having undergone or being at risk of FGM.
The figure marks a sharp rise from the previous year, when 970 cases were identified.
The true number of at-risk children is likely to be far higher, as the practice remains widely under-reported, warned the Local Government Association, or LGA, which analyzed government records for its findings. The LGA did not offer a reason for the apparent increase in at-risk children, but noted that awareness has increased and social workers can identify it quicker than before.
Incidents of child abuse related to faith or belief, including witchcraft and spirit possession, were found to have risen by 12%. Last year, there were 1,630 cases of such abuse, the LGA said, an increase from 1,460 the year before.
The findings demonstrate “the worrying prevalence of FGM, which is ruining lives and destroying communities,” said Anita Lower of the LGA.
“At a time when they should be preparing for adult life and enjoying being young, no girl or young woman should be subject to the horrors of genital mutilation, which is child abuse and cannot be justified for any reason,” Lower added.
Between April 2017 and March 2018, almost 5,000 women and girls in the UK were newly identified as victims of FGM, according to the National Health Service.
Figures of children identified as being at risk were not collected before 2016-2017, so annual rates can only be compared over the past two years.

‘Rejected by my family, raped – but proud to be gay’

Seyeda has been rejected by her family, abused and raped because she is gay – but is determined to be out and proud.

The 42-year-old from Pakistan believes she would have been killed if she had not moved to the UK.

“I can’t even imagine (what would have happened). I don’t think I would be alive there.

“But there is no looking back. If people are harassing me, I need to make myself more strong.”

Seyeda – whose parents died before they discovered her sexuality – was under pressure from an early age to marry a cousin.

“I didn’t want to because I knew of my orientation,” she told BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates.

A new report from LGBT domestic abuse charity Galop reveals around one in four of the cases seen by their advocacy service has been abused by family members – while one in ten is at risk of ‘honour-based’ violence or forced marriage.

‘Bad time’

University provided no escape for Seyeda. After a supervisor discovered her sexuality, she says she was forced off her PhD programme, and left without accommodation.

“I didn’t have anywhere to stay,” she explained. “If you are a woman on your own in Pakistan, you can’t live anywhere.

“I have uncles and aunts in Pakistan, and I was begging to stay (with them). But they weren’t ready to (let me) – and I was not ready to get married in the way they wanted me to.

“Once the extended family came to know about my sexuality, I had a bad time.”

Murder accused Mitesh Patel cheated on wife to meet men for sex, potential jurors told

Mitesh Patel is standing trial accused of wife Jessica’s murder  The husband of an alleged murder victim was unfaithful to his wife – having met men for sexual intercourse.

Mitesh Patel, 37, is due to stand trial accused of the murder of his wife Jessica Patel, with whom he ran a pharmacy in Roman Road, Linthorpe.

The 34-year-old was found dead at their home in The Avenue on May 14.

A potential jury at Teesside Crown Court was brought into the court room to hear details of the case from the High Court Judge, Mr Justice Goss.

During a short speech he told the courtroom that Patel had been cheating on his wife with men he had met on the internet site Grindr.

He said: “This case concerns the circumstances surrounding the death of Jessica Patel in her home in Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, on May 14 of this year.

“Her husband Mitesh Patel, who is the gentleman in the suit sitting there in the dock, is charged with her murder.

“Both of them worked as pharmacists and owned and ran the pharmacy on Roman Road, Linthorpe.

“It is agreed that during the course of the marriage, the defendant Mitesh Patel had been unfaithful to his wife, including having met men for sexual intercourse.

“Some of them he met using a social networking site called Grindr.”

Forced marriage: Leeds parents jailed over Bangladesh wedding

A husband and wife have been jailed for tricking their daughter into travelling to Bangladesh in order to force her into marriage.

The couple were described as “monsters” by their daughter who they had threatened to kill if she did not go ahead with the arrangement.

The father was jailed for four-and-a-half years and the mother for three-and-a-half years at Leeds Crown Court.

None of those involved in the case can be named.

More stories from Yorkshire

The then 18-year-old daughter had to be rescued from a remote village in an operation by the British High Commission involving armed police, the judge heard,

The woman, who is from Leeds and is now aged 20, described in a victim impact statement how she had assumed a new identity and lived in fear of her family.

She said: “I know I will always have to remain cautious but, knowing those monsters are going to be in prison, I feel the uttermost freedom in my heart.

“I want other girls to know that forcing someone to marry is wrong.”

‘Chop her up’

The woman was taken to Bangladesh with other family members for what they had been told was a holiday.

But the parents had made extensive plans for her wedding to a first cousin.

She reacted against the plan and her father hit her, with her mother’s encouragement, the court heard.

Her father said he would “chop her up in 18 seconds” if she continued to reject the proposed marriage, the judge was told.

The woman managed to alert the police through her boyfriend in the UK and the court was played some of the messages she left on his phone.

Judge Simon Phillips QC said of the recordings: “Her terror and distress is palpable.”

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