The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word ‘honour’ as having great esteem, the quality of knowing and doing what is morally right or bringing pride and pleasure, yet every year hundreds of children and young women face violence, torture and murder in the name of ‘honour’. This violence is not being perpetrated by a fascist government regime in some far off land but at the hands of their own families, the people who are supposed to love and protect them from all harm. It is happening here in the UK today and it will keep happening tomorrow and the day after that unless we act now and give these women and children a voice in a system that is all too often unable, or ill equipped, to listen effectively.
The issue of ‘Honour’ Based Violence (HBV) cannot be underestimated, nor can its victims be stereotyped as women from a particular ethnic background, religion or geographical region. Violence in the name of ‘honour’ transcends all of these factors, outdates all religions and is routed in deep cultural beliefs compounded by the fear of change. Up until recent years the issue of HBV was seen as only affecting South Asian Muslim families. However, ‘honour’ is of as significant importance within the Christian faith, the Jewish faith, the Travelling communities and ‘gun and gang’ relationships. Also it is not to say that all women within these said communities are at risk, what we are highlighting is that anyone, no matter what their race, religion, education level, social or economic standing can be at risk of an ‘honour” based crime.
This conference has been developed through consultation with many different stakeholders including specialist charities, police, educational institutes, social care providers and health care professionals. It focuses on understanding why these crimes happen, how to recognise that someone may be at risk and then implementing an appropriate and effective response should a disclosure be made. The conference material does not aim to place labels on people or criminalise whole communities but to expand the perspective and knowledge of attendees and to rectify the often incorrect and inappropriate information delivered by both Local and National media.
Recent high profile cases such as the tragic murders of Laura Wilson and Shafilea Ahmed will raise questions as to why didn’t the appropriate agencies recognise that these girls were at risk and why was no action taken to protect them? By attending the conference, you may raise awareness in your organisation that prevents the murder or suffering of another child or female that your agency is in contact with.
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Griffin Care Limited, 1 The Old Quarry, Woolton, Liverpool, Merseyside, L25 6LF