Thursday, February 25News For London

Report looking into access to justice for the most vulnerable will be released tomorrow

A report will be published tomorrow from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) concerned with the improvement of the police and their response to domestic abuse.

Organisations march on Downing Street campaigning for the protection of women i vulnerable circumstances
Organisations march on Downing Street campaigning for the protection of women in vulnerable circumstance. Image by:

The report looks at access to justice for the most vulnerable, in particular women who are victim of honour based violence, they tweeted.

The report comes after campaigns for the greater protection for victims of ‘honour-based violence’.

Pragna Pratel is the Director of Southall Black Sisters; a non-for profit organisation is at the forefront of challenging domestic and gender violence locally and nationally. She calls for “greater access to justice for the most vulnerable,” she told Westminster World.

“We need to look into the way religious authorities violate legal principles in the name of ‘honour based violence.”

Last Thursday Ms. Pratel, One Law for All, Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Right (IKWRO), Centre Space and British Muslims for Secular Democracy, hand delivered a letter signed by 400 individuals and organisations urging David Cameron to address the discriminatory nature of Sharia courts and other religious arbitration forums.

Sara Browne, Campaigns Officer for IKWRO told Westminster World “we have to tackle this issue of honour based violence. We have to challenge policies and government understanding. We need to have more campaigns around education and Sharia law. It is disgraceful that schools don’t have support training.”

Honour Based Violence

According to a report issued from the Crown Prosecution Services, honour based violence refers to a violent crime or incident which may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family or community.

Sara Browne told Westminster World that her organisation received “2,500 calls from women, girls and professionals, and also provided intensive support in over 800 cases of honour based violence or abuse.”

In possibly the most nationally recognised case of honour-based violence, Banaz Mahmood was brutally murdered by her father and other male members of her family in 2006- a victim of so called ‘Honour’ killing. She contacted British authorities vying for safety only to be refused and then found dead at age 20. Her story has been immortalised by artist and activist, Deeyah Khan in her acclaimed documentary Banaz a Love Story.

Since the murder of Banaz there have been proactive strategies put in place by Police to educate police officers to the nature of honour based violence. The Association of Chief Police Officers launched an HBV strategy in 2008, and honour based violence is now recognised in national policies.

Despite this, there is still a “long way to go,” Sara Browne told Westminster World.

“The government need to do more for vulnerable women,” according to Ms. Patel. “The Government bang on about British values and human rights, yet we still need some active support from women who are victims of honour based violence,” she told Westminster World.

The HMIC will be issuing the report later in the day. They refused to comment on the content of the report, rather detailing that it would be looking into how police forces protect vulnerable people.

Speaking to Westminster World, Pragna Pratel said that the “Government could do a lot more in regards to honour based violence. They need to step up the education and address violence against women.”

For more information regarding honour based violence please visit: IKWRO and Southall Black Sisters.

IKWRO helps Middle Eastern and Afghan women and girls who are living in the UK.  They speak Farsi, Kurdish, Arab, Dari, Pashto, Turkish and English. Please contact them on 0207 920 6460 if you require assistance.

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