Police failing to record honour-based violence
STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL: 00:01 THURSDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2014
New research reveals that 1 in 5 police forces in the UK are failing to properly record ‘Honour’ Based Violence cases, putting lives at risk
Expert, Diana Nammi, Executive Director of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation is available for interview. Please contact Sara Browne, Campaign Officer on 020 7920 6460/ 07739308398
Report available: ‘Postcode lottery: police recording of ‘honour’ based violence’
- Postcode lottery [PDF]
On Thursday 6 February 2014, the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO), a leading women’s rights charity campaigning to end all forms of ‘honour’ based violence, including forced marriage, child marriage and female genital mutilation, publishes new research which reveals that 1 in 5 police forces are failing to properly record ‘honour’ based violence cases, which puts lives at risk, including in some of the areas with communities in which honour based violence is most likely to occur.
IKWRO submitted Freedom of Information Requests to every police force in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland and received a response from every force. More than one in five forces failed to properly record cases. Of these, the most significant failures were by Derbyshire Constabulary, Gloucestershire Constabulary and Staffordshire Police as well as half of all Scottish police forces before they amalgamated into Police Scotland in April 2013.
Proper identification and recording of ‘honour’ based violence cases is crucial for effectively safeguarding victims. In London in 2006, Banaz Mahmod was gang raped and murdered by her family and her body was found buried in a suitcase in Birmingham. She had sought help from the police 5 times and on the last occasion, just weeks before she was killed, she was seen by police at A&E after she had escaped from her father who had forced her to drink alcohol and had attempted to strangle her. The police disbelieved her and returned her to her family. To ensure that the police protect victims like Banaz and do not further endanger them by liaising with their family or community, from whom they are at risk, proper recording of ‘honour’ based violence cases is essential. ‘Honour’ based violence is a serious, organised crime and the police must record all incidents and crimes which is key intelligence for risk profiling, risk assessment and risk management.
Since the ‘honour’ killing of Banaz Mahmod in 2006, the police have made significant progress in tackling ‘honour’ based violence, however a review of policing of the issue is long overdue; a review of the Association of Chief Police Officers 2008 ‘‘honour’ based violence strategy’ which was due on 30 September 2010, has yet to be published. IKWRO welcomes Tom Winsor, Chief Inspector of Constabulary’s call for a national enquiry into police handling of ‘honour’ based violence and in the report IKWRO set out a series of recommendations for the government, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) to help ensure that ‘honour’ based violence is tackled effectively. In particular IKWRO calls for a review of police training, the risk assessment process and recording procedures for ‘honour’ based violence cases.
‘Diana Nammi, Executive Director of IKWRO says; there may only be one chance to protect someone who is at risk from ‘honour’ killing. It is imperative that every police officer, from the telephone operator to those handling the case face to face can identify an ‘honour’ based violence case, secure the trust of the victim and act appropriately to ensure that they are not further endangered, for example by never communicating with their family or community, from whom they are at risk.
I recognise that there is some excellent policing of ‘honour’ based violence, however I am extremely concerned to find that a number of police forces have failed to implement basic, yet essential measures to protect those at risk from ‘honour’ based violence, a serious, organised crime that often involves multiple perpetrators and can result in murder. This is not acceptable and must be addressed immediately by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
I strongly support and am encouraged by the recent call by Tom Winsor for a national enquiry into police handling of ‘honour’ based violence and would urge the police to work transparently and closely with us to ensure that all possible steps are taken to safeguard victims of ‘honour’ based violence.‘
Media information, interviews, briefings:
Sara Browne: 020 7920 6460, 07739 308 398
Follow us on Twitter: @IKWRO & www.facebook.com/IKWRO
The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO) is a registered charity which was founded in 2002 in response to extremely poor understanding of and inadequate responses to ‘honour’ based violence by the police and other front-line agencies. IKWRO provides advice, support, referral and advocacy services to Kurdish, Farsi, Arabic, Turkish, Pashtu, Dari and English speaking women and girls living in the UK who are facing ‘honour’ based violence, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and domestic abuse. We deliver training to professionals and campaign for better laws, policies and implementation.