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11,000 honour-based crimes reported

Published 09/07/2015

Victims are afraid of reporting honour-based violence to the police, campaigners said
Victims are afraid of reporting honour-based violence to the police, campaigners said

More than 11,000 cases of honour-based violence have been reported to the police over the last five years, official figures show.

The crimes include abductions, false imprisonment and even murder, according to the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation (IKWRO).

Campaigners warned that many offences may be going unreported because the perpetrators are often those closest to the victims.

Between 2010 and 2014 there were 11,744 cases reported to 39 police forces across the UK , according to Freedom of Information data obtained by the IKWRO.

Dianna Nammi, IKWRO director, told a film about the problem by BBC Asian Network: "The number of honour-based crimes over the last five years is huge but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

"I'm sure many woman aren't coming forward because they're either not confident in the police or feel that by even approaching the police they'll be bringing shame and dishonour on their family.

"The stats show it's a national problem and that national action needs to be taken. The issue of honour-based violence is about life and death, there's no room for error."

The programme also spoke to Sarbjit Athwal, who testified in court against her in-laws during the first successful prosecution of an honour killing without the body ever being found.

Bachan Athwal and her son Sukhdave were jailed for life in 2007 for arranging the killing of Sarbjit's sister-in-law Surjit.

The 27-year-old Heathrow airport customs officer, originally from Coventry, wanted a divorce and went missing in 1998 after attending a family wedding with Bachan in India.

Sarbjit, who has been disowned by many in her community for speaking out, said: "It's a real challenge to change attitudes, especially people from our community because they're set in their mindsets and they're not going to see the bigger picture, the effect they're having on their children.

"If we can't get them to change their mindset, I think this problem is going to carry on for many, many years."

The Honour Code will be broadcast on BBC Asian Network at 5pm.

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