3 Dec 2011

Honour crime ‘much darker’ than figures suggest

As new figures reveal nearly 3,000 “honour” attacks were recorded by police in Britain last year, one campaigner tells Channel 4 News the reality is “much darker”.

Supporters of Tehrik-e-Minhaj ul Quran, an Islamic Organisation protest against 'honour killings' of women in Lahore on November 21, 2008 (Getty)

According to figures obtained by the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (Ikwro), at least 2,823 incidents of “honour-based” violence took place, with the highest number recorded in London.

The charity said the statistics do not give the full picture of the levels of “honour” violence in the UK but are the best national estimate so far.

The data, taken from from 39 out of 52 UK forces, was released following a freedom of information request by Ikwro.

Director Diana Nammi told Channel 4 News the problem is far worse than the latest research suggests.

“Of course the figures are very high and very shocking but a quarter of police forces didn’t report back to us. The reality is much darker.”

She called for a “change in community mindset” so that all agencies were in a position to prevent “honour” crime.

‘Significant number’ of incidents

In total, eight police forces recorded more than 100 attacks in 2010.

The Metropolitan Police saw 495 incidents, followed by 378 in the West Midlands, 350 in West Yorkshire, 227 in Lancashire and 189 in Greater Manchester.

Cleveland recorded 153, while Suffolk and Bedfordshire saw 118 and 117 respectively, according to the figures.

Between the 12 forces able to provide figures from 2009, there was an overall 47 per cent rise in honour attack incidents.

Police in Northumbria saw a 305 per cent increase from 17 incidents in 2009 to 69 in 2010, while Cambridgeshire saw a 154 per cent jump from 11 to 28.

“This is the first time that a national estimate has been provided in relation to reporting of honour-based violence,” the report concluded.

“The number of incidents is significant, particularly when we consider the high levels of abuse that victims suffer before they seek help.”

“Honour” attacks are punishments usually carried out on women who have been accused of bringing shame on their family and in the past have included abductions, mutilations, beatings and murder.

A Home Office spokesman added: “We are determined to end honour violence and recognise the need for greater consistency on the ground to stop this indefensible practice.

“Our action plan to end violence against women and girls sets out our approach to raise awareness, enhance training for police and prosecutors and better support victims.”