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Christian charity concerned about rise in reports of 'honour-based' violence

by Eno Adeogun

Just five per cent of cases reported to police are referred to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Peter Grant from Restored, which tackles violence against women, told Premier's News Hour it's never acceptable for these crimes to be committed.

He said: "These are basic crimes against individual human beings and I think what we must call out is the fact that no religion and no social code should be allowed to disguise the fact that these are crimes."

The National Police Chiefs' Council says honour based abuse is a complex crime and its priority is to safeguard vulnerable victims even where a conviction is not possible.

Grant explained why it can be hard to get these cases to court.

He said: "The reporting of cases has actually risen quite significantly - it's gone up by over 50 per cent since 2014 so there does seem to be a problem in terms of the police addressing this.

"I think there is some evidence that police forces are not well prepared to be able to handle some of these cases. At the very basic we should see a mixture of justice and obviously compassion and support."

The number of cases of honour based violence, forced marriage and FGM reported to the police has increased by 53 per cent since 2014, figures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show.

HM Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams reviewed the situation two years ago and found so called honour killings disproportionately affect women from ethnic minorities.

She also said there were cultural difficulties around how police deal with such cases.

The report made 14 recommendations to be put in place by the end of 2016, however some remain outstanding.

Williams, said: "We made a series of recommendations to the Home Office, the National Police Chiefs Council, chief constables and the College of Policing all of which were aimed at improving practice in relation to these extremely vulnerable victims.

"We are reviewing the data on recorded crimes and prosecutions and will use this in deciding what follow-up activity we might carry out in 2018/19."

"In future we shall be asking forces to submit information to us which provides details of how they are assessing current and future demands for their service in this area.

Grant told Premier honour based violence is the wrong name for the crime and that it is really about shame.

He said: It's about trying to uphold the honour of a family but at the expense of an individual."

He added that changing the mind-set of the perpetrators of this crime can only happen if they are challenged and face consequences.

Grant encouraged people affected by honour based abuse to get in contact with Karma Nirvana.

Their helpline for honour-based violence runs Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm on 08005999247.

If you are in immediate danger call 999.

Listen to Peter Grant speaking with Premier's Eno Adeogun.

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