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Victims of So Called Honour Based Abuse to Receive More Support
Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, David Lloyd, says so called ‘honour’ based abuse (HBA) will be included in future victims’ services plans and delivered through Hertfordshire’s victim care centre - Beacon. 

This specialist support, which will address the specific needs of victims of HBA, Forced Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) will be brought in next year.

This decision follows pioneering research carried out by the University of Roehampton and University of Essex which was commissioned by the PCC into so called ‘honour’ based abuse in Hertfordshire.

‘Honour’ based abuse – is an umbrella term for a collection of crimes which may have been committed in the belief of protecting or defending a family or community’s honour. It is however to be recognised that there is no honour in these crimes and offences.

The Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd said: “The findings from this report show that these terrible forms of abuse do occur in Hertfordshire and the right steps need to be put in place to deal with them effectively.

Whilst it is difficult to understand the true impact of these crimes – this study has highlighted areas where additional support and resources are required to assist those affected. 

Actions recommended in the report will be carried out through the ‘Honour’ Based Abuse subgroup, which sits under the Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership. I would also like to see more collaboration and joint-working between services so these appalling incidents are responded to immediately and preferably don’t occur at all.”

Between April 2013 and February 2017, Hertfordshire police recorded 160 crimes and 110 incidents of so called HBA and FM. Seventy-seven percent of victims were female.[i]

Professor Aisha K. Gill, Professor of Criminology at London’s University of Roehampton, who oversaw the research report said: “A stronger, more networked and victim-focused police response to this issue is vital.

Further work needs to be done to improve the coordinated approach; ensuring victims’ needs are being addressed.  Better communication with community leaders is also essential for increasing victims’ confidence to report incidents and also to enhance knowledge of safe reporting practices.”

Samantha Allen, Chair of Hertfordshire’s Honour Based Abuse Sub Group and Programme Support Officer for Hertfordshire Constabulary, said: “Experience has shown us that issues like HBA, FGM and forced marriage exist in Hertfordshire and it cannot be assumed that they are distant problems for other communities to tackle.

“We welcome this report which is already informing the work of the sub-group, as we work towards a single multi-agency policy that will result in victims receiving a consistent level of support regardless of the where they report the abuse.”

Serious Crime and Safeguarding Chief Superintendent Michael Ball said: “So called ‘Honour’ Based Abuse, FGM and forced marriage are global issues and should not be seen as just affecting only one or two different communities or countries. We know these crimes are under-reported and that victims are hard to reach because they are isolated or vulnerable, or the perpetrator is in a position of trust.

These challenges highlight the need for effective partnerships between local, national and international agencies to identify those at risk of abuse and intervene in order to protect them. This report further informs how we and our partners work with victims and ultimately tackle these devastating crimes.”
 
The report: Honour Based Violence and Abuse, Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage: Shaping Services for Priority Victims in Hertfordshire was based on research conducted by Professor Aisha K. Gill from the University of Roehampton, Professor Pamela Cox and Ruth Weir from University of Essex with consultant input from Professor Sandra Walklate, University of Liverpool.


[i] P14, The report Honour Based Violence and Abuse, Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage: Shaping Services for Priority Victims in Hertfordshire was based on research

[Picture courtesy of the Herald Scotland]