Tag Archives: FGM

New short film calls on government to make schools “honour” based violence, forced marriage & female genital mutilation safe

This week, as we celebrate both World Teachers Day (Monday, 5th October) and International Day of the Girl Child (Sunday, 11th October), the Iranian & Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO), launches a short film calling on the government to make every school “honour” based violence, forced marriage & female genital mutilation (FGM) safe.

The short film, which is part of IKWRO’s #RightToKnow campaign, captures young people preparing and performing flash mobs and asking members of the public to tweet Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education and have their picture taken in support of the campaign.

Government plan on violence against women and girls: OUR VERDICT

In January IKWRO asked our supporters to write to the Home Secretary and ask her to get tough on ‘honour’ based violence.  Many of you sent emails to Teresa may asking her to increase government efforts to tackle ‘honour’ based violence and to commit to providing training for all public sector workers.

That was six weeks ago.  On Tuesday you may have spotted IKWRO’s Diana Nammi in the Guardian, talking about the government’s new action plan which was released to coincide with International Women’s Day.  The Guardian article, by Rachel Williams, was titled ‘Honour’ killings plan does not go far enough.  But why not?

The action plan sets out what the government will do over the next four years in order to tackle violence against women and girls.  As far as ‘honour’ based violence goes, it commits to just three actions: 

  1. Work on the development of learning programmes for the Police on ‘honour’ based violence. 
  2. Continue training for specialist and dedicated prosecutors in ‘honour’ based violence.
  3. Identify models of effective practice to share with local areas, particularly those where awareness and activity to tackle ‘honour’ based violence is low.

While these commitments are all going in the right direction, the first two are not even new.  In 2008 the Association of Chief Police Officers also promised training.  Last year they finally began to develop a training programme but so far it hasn’t been rolled out.  The UK also already has specialist ‘honour’ based violence prosecutors who play an important role in ensuring that victims have access to justice through the courts.  Good, but again, nothing new. 

What’s more, training is also needed for other professionals such as social workers, teachers, health workers and housing officers.  Information sharing may help to tackle low awareness and improve the response to HBV, but so far it is unclear how information will be shared and whether there will be any monitoring to identify if local areas have used it to improve their work.

IKWRO believes that what is really needed is a national, cross government ‘honour’ based violence strategy which sets out what changes the government want to bring about, ways they will do this and how they will measure progress.  IKWRO will continue to campaign for stronger government leadership in this area through our UNITED against ‘honour’ based violence campaign.


Introducing…. the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation

At IKWRO we work with Kurdish, Farsi, Dari, Arabic and Turkish speaking women living in the UK. From our London office we provide advice and support to women and girls facing a whole range of problems – forced marriage, ‘honour’ based violence, sexual assault, domestic abuse and even female genital mutilation. Sometimes, we’re the only lifeline they have.

‘But what exactly do you do?’ people often ask us. 

And we say ‘a lot of things!’ 

In an average day we could be finding space in a refuge for a woman who’s escaped an abusive partner, or we might be helping a young girl to get police protection because her own family are threatening to kill her. There are family court hearings to attend, social workers to ring, immigration forms to fill. And there’s building our clients’ confidence too, reassuring them that things will get better, that they will be able to manage on their own.

We also go out to the communities where vulnerable women live and let them know about their rights and the ways in which we can protect them. It’s not always easy to win these women’s trust, but we speak their language and we know where they’re coming from, and that helps.

And then of course there’s campaigning – which means pushing for changes to the law that will make it easier for our clients to lead safe, happy lives. There’s a lot to take on: failing laws on female genital mutilation, a Forced Marriage Act that’s not tough enough, unresolved cases of ‘honour’ killing and immigration rules that make it hard for women who do not have indefinite leave to remain here to get out of abusive relationships and find space in a refuge. 

‘So where do I come in?’ we hear you ask.

Right here. We’re using this blog to share stories about the vital work we do and to spread the word about our campaigns. Stay in touch with us and share the blog with all your friends. Go on! It’s only a few clicks, but you could help us to make a real difference.