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Leicester hosts first tackling honour-based violence roadshow
The City of Leicester is today playing host to the first in a series of roadshows organised by the Government to help tackle honour-based violence.
The event, which takes place at Leicester City Football Club's stadium, is bringing together those at the frontline of the drive to raise awareness in affected communities and tackle honour-based violence. Attended by police, Crown Prosecution Service, Leicester NHS Trust and local charities, the roadshow aims to increase participants' understanding of the problem so that they are more prepared to spot the tell tale signs, share best practice from across the country and help those who suffer from honour-based violence.
Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said:
"So called honour-based violence is a heinous crime that has no place in our society. I want to help those who fear honour-based violence to have the confidence to come forward and report their concerns to the police.
"I recognise the scale of the problem is largely unknown since so much of it remains underground. But this roadshow will help authorities identify the problem more readily, helping some of the most vulnerable people in the country.
"I will strive to help ensure that victims are encouraged to come forward with the knowledge that they will receive the help and support they need."
The Government already supports victims of honour-based violence through a new national helpline for victims, partly funded by the Government and run by East Midlands based charity Karma Nirvana.
Shazia Qayum of Karma Nirvana said:
"All the team at Karma Nirvana are survivors of forced marriage or honour-based violence. A forced marriage is a marriage where one or both partners do not consent to the marriage or consent is extracted under duress.
"Everyone has a right to choose who they marry and when they get married. You are not wrong for having made the brave decision to leave a forced marriage."
Vernon Coaker added:
"We are developing a cross government action plan to tackle honour-based violence which includes forced marriage, honour killings and female genital mutilation.
"The plan is being developed with ACPO and other CJS agencies and aims to improve the response of police and other agencies to all forms of honour-based violence and ensure that victims are encouraged to come forward with the knowledge that they will receive the help and support they need. The plan will also address raising awareness and improve training and monitoring amongst communities and professional bodies."
The Home Office announced its intention to undertake these roadshows around England and Wales in its Tackling Violence Action Plan which was published in February this year and which sets out crime fighting priorities over the next three years. Tackling honour-based violence is one of the priorities in this action plan.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Further roadshows will take place in coming weeks and months in Cambridge, Birmingham, Manchester, York, Cardiff and London.
2. Members of the public seeking advice, help and support on honour-based violence should call the joint Home Office/Foreign Office Forced Marriage Unit on 020 7008 0151. It receives around 5,000 calls each year.
3. Honour-based violence is defined as a threat to someone's wellbeing because they have not, according to family and local community members, conformed to religious or cultural expectations. Examples could include individuals being forced to marry, kidnapped, being physically or mentally abused and in the worst case scenario be murdered.
4. Karma Nirvana launched the Honour Network Helpline earlier this year, which is staffed by victims of forced marriage or honour-based violence. It is active seven days a week from 9.30am to 9pm on 0800 5999 247. For more information on Karma Nirvana go to http://www.karmanirvana.org.uk/.