New research by IKWRO has found that more than 2800 incidents of ‘honour’ based violence were reported to police across the UK last year.
IKWRO sent Freedom of Information requests to all 52 police forces across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland asking how many incidents of ‘honour’ based violence they had recorded last year. 39 police forces responded with a total of 2823 incidents. IKWRO estimates that a further 500 incidents may have been reported to the 13 forces who did not respond.
“These figures demonstrate that ‘honour’ based violence is not a minor problem but a very serious issue which affects thousands of people each year, many of whom will suffer high levels of abuse before they seek help,” a spokesperson for IKWRO said. IKWRO is calling on the government to develop a national strategy to tackle ‘honour’ based violence across the UK.
Twelve of the police forces also provided statistics for 2009, and nine of these showed an increase in ‘honour’ crime between 2009 and 2010. The overall increase across the twelve forces was 57%. In London ‘honour’ crime has doubled to more than 5 times the national average, and in Northumberland it has tripled in a year
The top five worst areas are:
1. London 495 incidents
2. West Midlands 378 incidents
3. West Yorkshire 350 incidents
4. Lancashire 227 incidents
5. Manchester 189 incidents
The perpetrators of ‘honour’ crimes tend to be close family members of their victims, who are, more often than not, female. What they have in common is that the victim’s personal conduct is thought to have brought shame on her family. Reasons for this perceived dishonour have been known to be anything from refusing an arranged marriage, seeking a divorce, beginning a relationship that the family does not approve of or even being the victim of a sexual assault. One 15-year-old girl known to IKWRO was subjected to beatings and house arrest after her father found text messages on her phone to male friends from school.