If you are working with a Middle Eastern woman or girl who is affected by domestic violence, forced marriage, ‘honour’ based violence or FGM you can contact us for advice or to make a referral. We can help you by advising and by bringing cultural knowledge and language support where needed.
Basic dos and don’ts
Under UK law ‘honour’ based violence, domestic violence and FGM are all crimes, and forcing someone into marriage is a civil offence. You should not feel worried about appearing culturally insensitive. Remember, you may be the woman or girl’s only chance to get help.
What you should do:
- Believe what the girl or woman is saying. It may seem unbelievable to you that families would force their daughters into marriage or would kill them for what seem like trivial transgressions, but it happens
- Listen to the woman or girl’s wishes
- Seek advice from the Community Safety Unit, Forced Marriage Unit or from a specialist organisation like IKWRO
- If dealing with a girl under the age of 18 refer to child protection procedures
- Reassure the victim about confidentiality
- Arrange a way for you to contact the victim discretely.
What you should NOT do:
- Do not contact the family or attempt mediation
- Do not send the woman or girl back to her family
- Don’t assume the women in the family will protect the victim
- Do not use a family or community member as an interpreter – always use an independent and impartial interpreter
- Do not turn the woman or girl away as you may be her only chance to get help.
These are guidelines. If you’re in any doubt call our advice line for help.
As well as providing guidance on individual cases, IKWRO provides training to professionals from public and voluntary sector agencies to enable them to better understand issues such as ‘honour’ based violence. If you are interested in setting up training in your workplace please contact us.