Campaign Success: Nusrat Ghani MP withdraws her Bill which proposed to ban the term “honour” based violence and conflate it with domestic violence
IKWRO are delighted that our joint campaign opposing Nusrat Ghani’s MP’s Bill has succeeded. It has been withdrawn ahead of its second reading on Friday 24th March 2017 following IKWRO’s joint letter signed by 66 experts and survivors explaining why the Bill would put lives at risk.
The letter can be seen below.
Dear Nusrat Ghani MP,
Re: Crime (Aggravated Murder of and Violence Against Women) private members Bill
We are writing to you collectively, as specialist Black Minority and Ethnic (BME), women’s and “honour” based violence organisations, survivors, activists, professionals and academics, to explain our reasons for opposing the Crime (Aggravated Murder of and Violence Against Women) private members Bill that you have tabled, which is due for its’ second reading in the House of Commons on 24 March 2017. We would also welcome the opportunity to work with you in tackling violence against women and girls including so-called “honour” based violence.
The Bill proposes to prohibit the use of the widely used and accepted term “honour” killing in official publications and to conflate “honour” based violence with domestic violence. This change would have dangerous consequences for those at risk of “honour” based violence and lives will be put at risk.
“Honour” based violence and domestic violence are distinct forms of violence against women and girls, each with specific dynamics. Many women experience both, whilst some are at risk of “honour” based violence and not domestic violence. Each carries specific risks and requires different safeguarding approaches. These two forms of violence must not be conflated, and if they are, it is highly likely that there will be failures in safeguarding, resulting in serious harm and even “honour” killing.
Significantly, survivors endorse and own the term “honour” based violence. Many express relief that their experiences and the risks that they face will be understood and feel that it will help them to be safeguarded. The term is also understood within communities, which is key for prevention work, as it is known what it is that needs to end.
“Honour” based violence is a well-established term and field of knowledge and expertise among professionals across the public and voluntary sectors and academics. To censor the term would put at risk the significant progress that has been made, including by the recent national inspection into policing of “honour” based violence by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), which involved close consultation with specialist BME “honour”based violence women’s organisations.
Rather than taking a huge step backwards by censoring the term and therefore putting at risk the specific understanding gained, now is the time for action, including the implementation of HMIC’s recommendations. Police must be able to understand and identify “honour” based violence. Unless they can, preventable deaths like the “honour” killing of Banaz Mahmod* are likely to be repeated.
Importantly, “honour” based violence is a global issue, the term is recognised in international instruments and cases are often transnational so banning the widely recognised terminology would cause many difficulties.
For these many reasons, we call on you to prioritise the safety of women and girls at risk of “honour” based violence, and to withdraw the Bill.
I would be very happy to meet with you in person, with survivors, or to discuss the matter over the telephone and as stated above, I would welcome the opportunity to work with you. I look forward to hearing from you.
Diana Nammi, Executive Director, Iranian & Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO)
Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters
Estelle du Boulay, Director, Rights of Women
Shaheen Hashmat, Survivor Activist and Writer
Sarah Green and Rachel Krys, Co-Directors EVAW Coalition
Dawn Thomas and Dianne Whitfield, Co-Chairs of Rape Crisis England and Wales
Gill Herd Senior Manager, Solace Women’s Aid
Donna Covey CBE, Director AVA (Against Violence and Abuse)
Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE, QC (Hon), Partner, Dawson Cornwell
Nezahat Cihan, Director, Hopscotch Asian Women’s Centre
Alice Fookes, Education and Training Co-ordinator, UN WOMEN UK
C. McCurley, Partner, Ben Hoare Bell LLP
Deeyah Khan, Filmmaker & founder of Fuuse
Dr Jayne Kavanagh, Principal Clinical Teaching Fellow, UCL Medical
School lead for ‘Ethics and Law’, academic lead for Target Medicine’ and ‘Viva la Vulva’
Gurpreet Virdee, Director of Operations and Development, Women and Girls Network
Melanie Skyers, Chief Executive, Luton All Women’s Centre
Lee Wax, Volunteers Communications & Training Coordinator, Jewish Women’s Aid
Sara Kilpatrick, Service Development Manager, Respect
Judith Stephenson, Margaret Pyke Professor of Sexual & Reproductive
Health, Interim Director, UCL EGA Institute for Women’s Health
Dr Olivia Smith, Senior Lecturer & Course Leader for Criminology, Anglia Ruskin University
Dr Louise Livesey, Co-Convenor of the British Sociological Association
Violence Against Women Study Group and Senior Lecturer in Criminology, University of Gloucestershire
Simin Azimi, Director, Refugee Women's Association
Professor Aisha K. Gill, Professor of Criminology, University of Roehampton,
Abda Khan, Solicitor, Writer & Volunteer
Dr Christina Julios, Associate Lecturer, Birkbeck, University of London
Gabriella Gillespie, Campaigner against child/forced marriage and “honour” based violence; Survivor and on Board of Advisors for Too Young to Wed
Dr Joanne Payton, Researcher specialising in “honour” based violence
Dr Amanda Robinson, Cardiff University
Hannah Summers, Journalist
Merle Hoffman, President of Choices Women’s Medical Center and
President of the Choices Global Institute of Healing and Education
Mandy Sanghera, Human Rights Activist, U.K. Independent consultant
Sadia Hameed, Women’s Rights Activist and Founder of Gloucestershire Sisters
Rashid Begum, Solicitor
Catherine Woodward, Academic
Emma Boyd, campaign and communications professional
Jennie Buckman, Artistic Director of Giants Theatre Co
Professor Lisa Avalos, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Arkansas School of Law
Meena Kumari, BME Trainer/Director, H.O.P.E Training & Consultancy
Dr Veena Meetoo, Research Officer, UCL Institute of Education.
Joy Alert-Doran, Service Manager NIA’s East London Rape Crisis Centre
Kate Aston RGN, BSC(Hons) Specialist Community Practitioner, Adult Safeguarding
Dr. Phyllis Chesler, Author, Fellow, Middle East Forum, Advisor-in- Chief,
Choices Global Institute of Education and Healing.
Tricia Bernal, PAS (Protection against Stalking)
Sue Stevenson, Chair of IKWRO and children's social worker
Frank Mullane, CEO, AAFDA (Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse)
Grainne Fox, Accredited Domestic Abuse Prevention Advocate, Solace Women’s Aid
Gina Khan, Spokesperson for One law for All
Lauren Housley, Housing Needs Officer/Domestic Violence and Abuse One Stop Shop Coordinator, Barnet Homes
Arifa Nasim, Founder & Executive Director Educate2Eradicate
Shamil Makhecha, Youth For Change UK Advocate on behalf of Youth For Change
Lubna A. Maktari, Co-founder & Director, Independent Yemen Group
Dr Jane Ellis, Senior Lecturer, Social Policy, Education and Social Care
Faculty of Health Social Care and Education, Anglia Ruskin University
Jan Floyd-Douglass FInstLM, Director and Co-Founder, The 9 Situations
Marina Bush, Course Leader, Social Policy, Education and Social Care,
FHSCE, Anglia Ruskin University
Dr. Elham Manea, academic and human rights advocate
Esther Obiri-Darko, Green Party Science and Technology Spokesperson
Lalaie Ameeriar, Ph.D. Assistant Professor University of California, Santa Barbara
Dr Neda Barzegar, Doctor, IKWRO Survivor Ambassador
Tracey Noble, Refuge Services Manager, The Dash Charity
Carolina Gottardo, Director, Latin American Women's Rights Service
Nusrat Zamir, Chairwoman, Chadwell Heath Asian Women's Network
Sawsan Salim , Director, Kurdish and Middle Eastern Women Organisation – KMEWO
Yenny Aude, General Manager, Latin American Women’s Aid
Baljit Banga, Director, London Black Women’s Project
*Banaz Mahmod was a British citizen who was a victim of both domestic violence and “honour” based violence. Her family felt that by leaving her violent husband and then falling in love with a family friend that she had shamed them. Banaz reported to the police five times, however they failed to understand that she was at risk of “honour” killing. Following a failed murder attempt by her father, Banaz was gang-raped and murdered in an “honour” killing in London by family and community members and her body was buried in a suitcase in Birmingham. The IPCC report recognised the importance of police training on “honour” based violence.