Expert, Diana Nammi, Executive Director of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO) is available for interview.

On Thursday 9 July 2015, 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 revealing that from 2010 to 2014 UK police have recorded more than 11,000 cases of “honour” based violence.

The figures, which were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from 39 of 52 UK forces, show 11,744 incidents and crimes, which include abductions, beatings and even murders. The Metropolitan Police recorded the highest number at 2,188, followed by the West Midlands with 1,269 and Bedfordshire recording 1106. Over the five-year period “honour” based violence cases were recorded in every single UK police force, demonstrating that this is a nation-wide problem.

Diana Nammi, Executive Director of IKWRO said;

“The figures show that “honour” crimes remain consistently high, are happening across the country and that the issue is not going away. They demonstrate the extent of need from vulnerable women and girls for protection and support and positively, show that many have seen the light at the end of the tunnel and sort help.But unfortunately the figures do not even show the real extent of the problem. So many crimes are never reported because the perpetrators are the victim’s own families and/or community members, who often have convinced them that going to the police is shameful and they fear retribution.

As an organsiation supporting thousands of women and girls at risk, we have seen improvements across many police forces and there are some excellent officers, but this is not good enough. The risks can be so severe, even resulting in “honour” killing, that there is no room for error. We welcome the first ever review of “honour” crimes, by the police watchdog, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), which is currently underway. We hope that it will result in crucially important improvements in how the all police forces handle these cases.

On a daily basis, because of the national crisis in refuge spaces, IKWRO has struggled to find safe beds for women who are in extreme danger. In response, relying mainly on donations, we have opened the first refuge specialist for Middle Eastern and North African women fleeing “honour” based violence. But to enable us to continue to provide this essential protection, we desperately need government support.

To ensure that every victim and survivor is kept safe, receives the support that they need and is afforded justice, we urgently need a national strategy, across the police, the legal system, social services, housing and health and education. It troubles me enormously that the Department of Education have been dragging their feet. We urge them to come on board, as schools and colleges need to play a vital role in preventing future generations lives be destroyed by “honour” based violence.

Commander Mak Chishty, the National Policing lead on honour- based Violence told the BBC in response to IKWRO’s research;

“In the past there have been huge failings and we are sorry about those cases. I think we’re in a better place because of our training given to all officers, our understanding is better. Honour based violence is no longer a fringe issue. I think if we work hard enough at it together, we can start to eradicate this”

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