IKWRO are delighted to announce the nominees and winners of the True Honour Awards 2019.
On behalf of IKWRO and all of the judges we would like to congratulate every nominee for their vital work to end “honour” based violence and support survivors. Every single one deserves recognition and enormous praise.
Dr Charlotte Rachael Proudman
Dr Charlotte Rachael Proudman is a barrister at Goldsmith Chambers specialising in “honour” based violence. She is known as the feminist barrister and has been described as “fighting for women’s rights in and out of court” by i-news, whilst the Telegraph describe her as “clever”, “confident” and “impressively well-versed on women’s rights”. As a barrister, Charlotte represents the most vulnerable and marginalised women in family and immigration courts. She is committed to ensuring women’s rights are upheld through the law. Charlotte played an instrumental role in the criminalisation of forced marriage; she advised Number 10 Downing Street on changing the law; and published a book with empirical research that supported the legal change. She was influential in the introduction of Female Genital Mutilation Protection Orders designed to prevent girls and women from being cut. She is also involved in ground-breaking FGM legal cases in the High Court. Charlotte works closely with front-line professionals including the police and third sector organisations, providing pro bono advice on legal cases. Charlotte holds a Doctorate in FGM law and policy in the UK from King’s College, Cambridge. Her Doctoral research was the first major empirical study of FGM. It involved extensive interviews with survivors and stakeholders responsible for enforcing the law. Combining legal practice and academia, Charlotte is a Junior Research Fellow in Human Rights at Queens’ College, Cambridge. She has extended her research to FGM jurisprudence in Western nations, where for the first time she is comparing the efficacy of legislative interventions to eliminate FGM. Charlotte is a former Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School where she studied feminist legal theory. In addition, Charlotte is a fierce campaigner, writing and speaking about violence against women and girls. Prior to the MeToo movement, she shed light on sexual harassment in the legal profession after publicly sharing her experiences in the workplace. As a result, Charlotte was on the front page of the national press. She was pronounced winner of the legal debate of 2018 arguing that a quota for women is the only solution to gender equality in the workplace and she regularly features on radio, TV and in newspapers. Charlotte continues to dedicate her life to the pursuit of rights for women and her continued resolve to bring change is an inspiration.
The Felix Project
The Felix Project is a food charity, with both an environmental and a humanitarian impact. Each year they save over £6.5 million of food from the bin, which they deliver to around 250 charities and schools each month, reaching approximately 50,000 people each week. The Felix Project has been working with IKWRO for two and a half years, supplying women impacted by “honour” based violence with food and toiletries. This means that vulnerable clients, with very low incomes, can eat healthily and their financial stress is alleviated, when otherwise they would struggle to survive day to day. The supplies are delivered every week of the year, by warm and friendly team members, who leave the women feeling uplifted and knowing that people care about them.
The Green School
The Green School for Girl’s first connected with IKWRO last year, when two Year 8 students decided to raise funds for the charity through a “bake-sale”. Following this, the school embraced the opportunity to work in partnership with IKWRO to grow the understanding of all of its staff and students about “honour” based violence. The school took part in a three month programme and adopted a whole-school approach. All staff learned about the issue through two briefings and continued professional learning. Assemblies raising awareness about “honour” based violence were delivered across all year groups, from year 7- to 13 and students were able to engage with the issue more directly through healthy relationships workshops. The materials, the knowledge and the understanding provided by IKWRO have been incorporated and embedded into the school’s PSHE programme. Students have said that they now feel more prepared should they encounter these issue and know that it is okay to reach out for help and support. The Green School are commended for their approach to tackling about “honour” based violence and are a shining example of best practice in the education sector.
Houraa El-Hassani is dedicated to tackling “honour” based violence, both through her career and beyond this, through her voluntary work. Her important work is informed by her own experiences, as a British Iraqi who was born in the UK and raised in a conservative household. She knows how difficult it can be for young girls and boys to be torn between two different cultures and have the desire to explore, learn and make mistakes in childhood and adolescence. Ten years ago she began working as a family support worker for children’s services where she sees the positive impacts of early intervention, through educating parents before problems develop. She has also worked directly with many survivors of “honour” based violence, who she has supported, to escape abuse, resettle, establish immigration status, access therapy and education, and to pursue employment. Houraa speaks at and organizes workshops, community confereces and seminars at schools, colleges and community centres to raise awareness about the importance of girls’ education and rights. Through this work she creates supportive spaces for learning new ideas. Houraa courageously challenges negative notions connected to “honour” based violence such as that “girls should not study” and “good girls must get married”. Houraa also volunteers to mentor young people, befriending them and supporting them to understand their rights. She helps empower them to be advocates and role models for other women and young girls, and gives them hope that they can also create change.
Latin American Women’s Rights Service
Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS) is a charity committed to increasing the visibility and awareness of the incidence of harmful practices and “honour” based violence within the Latin American community. Their work is contributing to an increase in the understanding of how ‘honour’ is used as an excuse to exert violence on women and girls. LAWRS provides specialist advice and counselling including crisis intervention, assessment and therapy for survivors of “honour” based abuse. They also deliver specialist training for practitioners across London. This work is done in partnership with other Black Minority and Ethnic women’s organisations, as part of the London Councils funded project ‘Ascent’. Last year, LAWRS provided information, advice and guidance to a total of 64 survivors of harmful practices and 26 of these completed a course of therapy. Last year, LAWRS started delivering specialist training to statutory agencies on “honour” based violence, training 40 police officers in one month. LAWRS is Co-Chair of the Harmful Practices working group in Haringey, through which they influence the council’s strategy and work to tackle this issue. LAWRS address “honour” based violence in academic research projects about the community, including their latest publication (We Can’t Fight in the Dark: experiences of VAWG among Brazilian women in London), and their soon to be published study on safe reporting of crime. LAWRS’s work against “honour” based violence is widely promoted in English, Spanish and Portuguese, through leaflets, articles in community newspapers, radio programs, talks, workshops and presentations in community settings, Latin American Consulates and community events.
DC Martin Ball
DC Martin Ball works as part of a team at Norfolk Constabulary, where his role is to safeguard victims, or potential victims of “honour” based abuse, forced marriage and female genital mutilation. He has been in this role for around 3 years. Martin and his team aim to ensure that individuals and families are able to live without fear of coming to significant harm, both physical and emotional. Martin takes a holistic approach. In addition to ensuring that the individuals and families he works with are appropriately safeguarded, he identifies all relevant connected issues and takes a true multi-agency approach. Issues may relate to housing, immigration, domestic abuse, child welfare concerns, benefits and sources of income. To ensure that victim’s needs are met, he refers to and works closely with a number of agencies such as Children’s Services, the Home Office, the NHS and accredited charities. By taking a holistic approach when safeguarding victims, Martin and his team, maximise the benefit and expertise that all agencies can offer to keep individuals and families safe and they are to be commended as an example of best practice.
Nina Bloomfield has been teaching the safeguarding of children and the protection of vulnerable adults at Barnet and Southgate College for a number of years. When in 2015 she heard that IKWRO where able to offer training in “honour” based violence, including awareness of FGM and Forced Marriage she immediately contacted the organisation. Since then, she has been working in partnership with IKWRO to deliver training sessions to Childcare, Health and Social Care and ESOL students so that they can take this crucial learning into their careers in Health, Social Care and Educational settings. Many of the college’s students have personal experience of ‘honour’ based violence and through this partnership they have been better able to access support and advice. Last year, Nina set up an FGM survivors group and one very positive outcome was that a student was able to undergo an FGM reversal operation. Nina plans to continue this partnership in order to raise awareness of these issues within the College, and is planning to run a training session for staff as well.
Dr Roba Al-Ghabra
Dr Roba Al-Ghabra originally trained as a doctor before turning to the law. She is a solicitor at Birnberg Peirce & Partners and an invaluable member of their immigration team. Roba works determinedly to ensure the best outcome for her clients. As she puts it. ‘I assist in the struggle against domestic and “honour” based abuse by empowering women to gain independence from their abusers through having stable immigration status in the UK in their own right’ She is respected for her strategic and level-headed approach to the most complicated cases. She often works with clients made extremely vulnerable by their circumstances and has a specialist understanding of “honour” based violence. Her work has achieved huge life-changing impacts for the survivors she represents.
DC Sarah Edgar
DC Sarah Edgar is a Detective Constable in the North Crime and Safeguarding Team for Cumbria Constabulary and has been in this role for 3 years. On one occasion she dealt with a young pregnant female who was unable to speak English and it was believed she was the victim of “honour” based violence and Female Genital Mutilation and had possibly been trafficked into the UK. Sarah’s response in identifying the risks, taking the case seriously and taking steps to work with experts was exemplary. Recognising that the police forces’ “honour” based violence support resources were limited, Sarah liaised closely with IKWRO, organising for their Senior Advisor to travel to Cumbria to assist them. Prior to her current role, Sarah was a police detective trainer and organised many professional development events for public protection officers on “honour” based violence and Forced Marriage, including organising experts from the Forced Marriage Unit to speak to staff. She also trained new detectives and new officers on “honour” based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation, outlining the legislation and explaining the related issues. She rightly wanted officers to be mindful that even though they worked in Cumbria a small rural force, these issues can occur anywhere and that they must be aware and prepared to support anyone who was subject to “honour” based violence.
Siobhan Markwell is a teacher of English as a second language, ESOL, at New City College. When approached by IKWRO in February 2017, about a ground-breaking project called HR in Practice funded by the European Union, she was eager to take part, in her own personal time, on top of working full time at the college with a busy schedule. The project aimed to incorporate Human Rights into ESOL lesson plans to inform new arrivals to the UK of their rights here. A significant focus of the project was women’s rights and violence against women and girls, in particular “honour” based violence. Siobhan was passionate and committed in undertaking the work, which involved writing lesson plans and adjusting the language in lesson plans written by European counterparts in the project, to meet the level and needs of her ESOL students. She travelled to Germany to meet with other partners to discuss the best ways to teach the students on these topics, as well as travelling across the UK to finalise the lesson plans and to create a textbook. Siobhan worked tirelessly on the project, which has been a huge success and continues to be taught in colleges across the UK and Europe.
Shiza Ayub is a Family and Immigration solicitor who represents a wide range of vulnerable clients with a specialism in cases involving domestic violence and “honour” based violence. Shiza deals with emergency Non-Molestation Orders, child matters, divorce, financial matters and immigration applications on the basis of the Immigration Concession of Domestic Violence. Shiza has also worked with high profile clients, with media attention, involving “honour” based violence. She is dedicated in tackling such issues to help change victims’ lives for the better. She provides not only legal support but also emotional support to clients, who a lot of the time are reluctant to take the correct legal step, due to a fear of consequences from their perpetrators. Having witnessed “honour” based violence and domestic violence within her community Shiza was motivated to work within law to help people escape these traumatic situations. Shiza works closely with a number of domestic violence organisations, in order to bring about life-changing impacts for victims. Her passion flows from within when dealing with these clients and she is relentless in seeking justice for them. Her clients’ grateful acknowledgement of her work is testimony to her dedication and commitment.
Sunny Angel is an inspiring single mother with a passion for change. She herself is a Survivor of “honour” based violence. She has shared her journey in order to help safeguard other vulnerable children and adults. She self-published her book, Wings, to get her story heard, and she has succeeded; her experiences have been heard worldwide and the impact has been phenomenal. Sunny speaks publically, including at universities, about her experiences and has reached judges, the police, social workers and teachers, educating them about the importance of safeguarding and understanding “honour” based abuse. Sunny has also undertaken multi-faith engagement work, highlighting her experience of being groomed. She has worked in collaboration with Britain’s first purpose built Mosque and the Sikh Awareness Society to tackle taboo issues that result in “honour” based violence. A documentary covering her work is soon to be released.
Women’s Pioneer Housing
Women’s Pioneer Housing was established in 1920 in the wake of the suffrage movement, by women and men who believed in gender equality and the need to redress the disadvantages women experienced in obtaining and retaining a secure home. The organisation understands that housing plays a key role in tackling “honour” based violence, due to the fact that much of it occurs within the home and because when victims and survivors lack anywhere secure to escape to, they can be at risk of being trapped within or returning to abusive environments. Recognising this, Women’s Pioneer Housing play a vital role in helping survivors of “honour” based violence, including by making tenant’s homes safe or relocating current and new tenants to new safe homes. They work closely with specialist agencies such as IKWRO, providing much needed security and stability to survivors of “honour” based violence, so that they can begin to rebuild their lives.
Zannah Bukar Mustapha
Zannah Bukar Mustapha is the award-winning founder of Future Prowess Islamic Foundation, a school that provides free education to some of the most deprived girls in Maiduguri, the largest city in Borno, Nigeria. This is the birthplace of the Boko Haram insurgency, a vicious eight-year war in north-eastern Nigeria which remains one of world’s bloodiest conflicts. The war has killed tens of thousands and driven two million people from their homes, leaving families destitute and denying a decent education to a whole generation of girls in the region. What is unique about this school initiative is that it bridges the gender, political and religious divide thrown up by the Boko Haram conflict. Among the students there are both orphaned children of the security forces and of the insurgents they fight against. The school has kept its’ doors open throughout the crisis, even at the height of the violence in Maiduguri, when every other school shut down. Its motto is “a school where every child matters”, and it provides education to all those in need regardless of religion, gender or ethnicity.
The True Honour Awards Judges selected four outstanding nominees as Winners of Awards of Special Recognition:
Winner of Special Recognition of Professional Working to End “Honour” Based Violence
DC Abigail Fox-Greenwood
DC Abigail Fox-Greenwood works as part of a safeguarding team in Leeds for West Yorkshire Police. Her primary role is to protect vulnerable victims, predominantly in cases of “honour” based violence and forced marriage. Abby is described as having ‘dogged determination’ in supporting those at risk. She was instrumental in securing the first ever Yorkshire forced marriage conviction, for both the mother and father of the survivor. She travelled to Bangladesh twice to develop links with the British Embassy, the Foreign Commonwealth Office, other Law Enforcement Agencies and to co-ordinate the rescue of this and other young victims of attempted forced marriage. In the face of several challenges, including ill health and coming under personal verbal attack from the perpetrators, Abby had unwavering commitment to supporting the survivor and the prosecution throughout, even cancelling part of her honeymoon to do so. The victim gave a written submission to the court to say that without Abby, she ‘would not be alive today’ and Abby was commended by the Judge and the Crown Prosecution Service for her ‘absolute victim focus and support’ and for going ‘above and beyond her duty’. Believing that cohesion and a clear multi-agency approach is of paramount importance in order to tackle “honour” based violence, Abby shares her insight and expertise with other police forces, the National Police Chiefs Council and other professional agencies such a teaching hospitals nationally. She speaks at conferences and on local radio and has set up the West Yorkshire Police Twitter page @WYP_Forced2Love. She also fundraises for a charity tackling “honour” based violence. Through her integrity and professionalism, Abby has built trust within communities that typically do not trust the police and this has resulted in an increase in reporting of “honour” based violence to the police within Leeds.
Winner of Special Recognition as Inspiring Activist Tackling “Honour” Based Violence
Asha Iqbal is an activist who raises awareness about the impacts of “honour” based violence, with a focus on mental health. Her campaigning is rooted in her personal experiences. She is a survivor, who herself suffered more than twenty years of “honour” based abuse and during this time she was failed by many services’ lack of understanding of the issues affecting her. After escaping her abusive household, Asha recognised that the mental health impact of years of abuse were taking a toll on her recovery and felt that the realities of living with abuse and life after abuse needed to be better understood. She started sharing her experiences and views through social media and there was an incredible response. Her posts and videos now reach huge audiences, with consistent monthly engagement of two million on Twitter. Many victims and survivors have reached out to her to tell her that she has given them strength to tackle their mental health or face the abuse and this has aided her own recovery. Understanding that breaking down mental health barriers within Black Minority and Ethnic communities is essential for survivors’ recovery, Asha founded Generation Reform to tackle stigma through open conversations and workshops. Asha says that “for many years I neglected my need to access mental health services due to the shame attached to it in the community and this is what saddens me, as I still see this happen every day, but I am hoping my voice and past experiences will open doors to many.” Asha is a proud MQ mental health ambassador, her experiences were covered by Women’s Health UK and she is a winner of the Points of Light Award. Asha says she lives in hiding, but doesn’t want to live the rest of her life in silence.
Winner of Special Recognition for Academic Contribution to End “Honour” Based Violence
Dr Joanne Payton
Dr Joanne Payton is a leading academic in “honour” based violence. Joanne’s involvement in the field dates back to 2005 when she volunteered for IKWRO and began creating an international directory of acts of ‘honour’ based violence, in the same year that the murders of Banaz Mahmod and Du’a Khalil Aswad gave the phenomenon of “honour” based violence international attention. She advised and gave guidance to filmmaker Deeyah Khan for her debut production ‘Banaz: A love story,’ which later won an International Emmy and gave the issue of ‘honour’ violence mainstream attention. Joanne published a book chapter on the murder of Banaz Mahmod that explored themes surrounding ‘honour’, marriage and family structure. She later won Economic and Social Research Council funding to study “honour” based violence in greater depth for her PhD in Criminology, which she obtained in 2015. She has researched and written academic pieces on “honour” based violence, outlining the issues in relation to risk assessment and the connections between cousin marriage and violence within the family. Her work has brought light to many of the less understood aspects of “honour” based violence. She has particular expertise on Kurdistan, on which she co- authored a study of self-burning suicide, a horrific manifestation of “honour” based violence. Joanne has presented her work at the United Nations and her expertise has been sought by various British public bodies for the development of policies. Joanne has continued to be a loyal supporter of IKWRO, volunteering IT support alongside her current work as researcher for Deeyah Khan’s media company Fuuse. She edits the website sister-hood, an online magazine that features the writing of women of Muslim heritage, and often addresses topics related to ‘honour’ and family violence. A book based on her PhD research – ‘Honor’ and the Political Economy of Marriage – will be released this year by Rutgers University Press.
Winner of Special Recognition as Community Champion Working to End “Honour” Based Violence
Hoda Ali is a nurse and a human rights activist. Having undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) in Somalia at the age of seven, which has resulted in lifelong consequences, including losing the ability to have children, she draws on her own experiences and professional skills to campaign to defend the rights of girls and to end FGM. In 2013, Hoda appeared in ‘The Cruel Cut’, a BAFTA-nominated Channel 4 documentary about FGM. In 2014 Hoda co-founded the Vavengers, an FGM awareness-raising group that runs arts events to help fund charities working in the UK that support women and girls who have undergone the abusive practice. Their first project called ‘It happens here’, was the first ever End FGM billboard campaign in the UK. Hoda and her nieces were the face of the campaign, which received a widespread response. From 2015 to 2018, Hoda was a Trustee for 28TooMany, a charity established to undertake research and provide knowledge and tools to those working to end FGM worldwide. In 2018 Hoda was nominated as an Amnesty International Human Rights Defender, and she appears on the Suffragette Spirit Map. Hoda currently leads a ground-breaking project to end FGM in London Perivale Primary School in collaboration with Ealing Council, involving children, parents and staff. The project was recently showcased in parliament and in recognition of its success, the John Lyons charity is funding its’ expansion and the project now includes 16 schools. Hoda is also health advisor to new organisation called Magool, which supports survivor led work to end FGM. Most recently, Hoda took part in the highly anticipated documentary film “100 Vaginas” about the work of photographer Laura Dodsworth to help debunk notions of shame around women’s bodies, sharing her powerful story on how she reclaimed her body after FGM.
Winner of Special Recognition for Outstanding Organisation Tackling “Honour” Based Violence
Matthew Naz Mahmood-Ogston – Naz and Matt Foundation
Matt Mahmood-Ogston is the Founder of Naz and Matt Foundation, an organisation dedicated to tackling religious homophobia and honour-based abuse affecting individuals who are LGBTQI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer or intersex). He set up the foundation in memory of his soulmate and fiancé, Dr Naz Mahmood, who sadly took his own life in 2014 two days after his deeply religious parents confronted him about his sexuality. The Naz and Matt Foundation provides help to people through a helpline with trained volunteers, giving individuals a space to be heard, and helping them to access emergency and crisis services. Matt regularly speaks in secondary schools, universities, at public events, to the media and more recently to central government about these issues and how to tackle them. Tas a result of his tireless campaigning he was voted the 6th most influential LGBTI person in the UK by the Independent on Sunday in 2015. His mission is to never let religion, any religion, come in the way of the unconditional love between parents and their children. Matt and Naz’s personal love story inspired a ground-breaking storyline in one of the most watched TV programmes in Britain, Coronation Street. Their story has also been turned into the BBC Folk Award nominated song “Be the Man”, released in the charts by The Young’Uns and performed at Glastonbury.
Winner True Honour Award 2019
Shamshad Iqbal Malik Shamshad Iqbal Malik has dedicated her life to fighting “honour” based violence. When Shamshad moved to Newcastle in 1978 with her family, she was confronted with widespread poverty, poor housing and racism. She identified a lack of support for Black, Minority and Ethnic (BME) women and wanted to do something to address this. She returned to education and became an activist for change, with a passion and commitment to achieving equality for BME women & children at local and strategic levels. Shamshad took on many roles in community health, mental and sexual health, crèche, play and youth work and joined steering groups, management and trustee boards. Shamshad has been instrumental in educating Judges, lawyers and the police forces in the North East of England about the impacts of “honour” based violence and first cousin marriage. She has challenged their attitudes to Black Minority Ethnic women, making an enormous difference to how the justice system across the whole region deals with “honour” based violence cases. Shamshad is a founder member of ‘The Angelou Centre’, where she currently works as an Advocate for women and children, providing holistic support to survivors of harmful practices including Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage as well as domestic and sexual abuse, and Domestic Slavery. The charity has succeeded in securing funding to set up two women’s refuge centres, providing crucial accommodation to survivors who are destitute and without recourse to public funds. Over the past four decades, Shamshad has defended and supported literally hundreds of women and children from “honour” based violence and control exerted upon them by their families, in-laws and communities, at considerable personal cost. In one case, her life was threatened because she refused to give up the location of a young woman in hiding. As one client recently put it, “she is like an angel who walks among us”.