Victims of ‘honour’-based abuse 7 times more likely to have multiple perpetrators than other victims of domestic abuse

Charities call on communities to own the issue and call out abuse, and agencies to understand and respond better

At the end of the #16Days domestic abuse campaign, and in the context of a huge data release on domestic abuse by the ONS in November, two charities highlight the situation of women and men who face additional challenges to being heard and who are often ‘invisible’ in the debate.

SafeLives, a national evidence-led domestic abuse charity, and Karma Nirvana, a British human rights charity that supports victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage, have come together to put the spotlight on thousands of people experiencing this violence and our need to engage with ‘hidden’ victims of abuse.

SafeLives’ new research, which drew on the expertise of Karma Nirvana and other specialists, shows victims of “honour-based” abuse are seven times more likely to have multiple perpetrators than others who experience domestic abuse. Agencies must therefore provide a ‘whole family’ response, to uncover the webs of abuse that allow multiple perpetrators in the family and wider community to inflict fear.

Victims of honour crimes often face additional barriers, such as the need for interpreters, having no access to public funds and lacking trusted networks to which they can turn.

My husband started the physical abuse, and the other family members soon followed. His family began to give the children expensive gifts and my children began to turn against me... From day one, my mother-in-law, father-in-law, sisters and brothers in law, and then my husband and now children too. What was I going to do?

Amala, a survivor

We carry out a great deal of research examining additional barriers certain survivors face. Our evidence, and the expert input from specialist charities who helped us with this report, show that victims of HBV are more likely to be abused multiple times and by multiple perpetrators. As we’ve seen all too often, perpetrators can 'get away with it' if communities turn a blind eye to ongoing abuse. This isn’t exclusive to any specific community – as recent disclosures from Hollywood to Westminster show all too clearly. We have to work in partnership with communities to examine the causes of abuse and the environments in which it can flourish, so we can help the many people suffering in silence.

Jasvinder Sanghera CBE, Founder and CEO of Karma Nirvana said: “Victims of honour-based abuse are particularly vulnerable as there are often multiple perpetrators from the immediate family. Professionals have become increasingly afraid of the consequences of offending minority groups and as a result victim protection is undermined.

When professionals are educated and trained on best practice, victim safety is greatly increased. We welcome this research and hope it will encourage policy makers to improve the resources for agencies and help them to challenge these human rights abuses

Suzanne Jacob, OBE, Chief Executive of SafeLives

Your Choice: 'Honour'- based violence, forced marriage and domestic abuse

This report will discuss domestic abuse within the context of so called ‘honour’-based violence and forced marriage.

Read report

About Jasvinder Sanghera and Karma Nirvana

Jasvinder Sanghera CBE is the author of The Sunday Times bestseller, ‘Shame’, ‘Daughters of Shame’ and ‘Shame Travels’. She featured in the award-winning documentary ‘Honour Diaries’ and her first TED talk has over 220,000 views on YouTube.

Jasvinder founded Karma Nirvana in 1993 to offer emotional and practical support to British victims. Today the charity operate a national helpline that receives approximately 800 phone calls per month. Karma Nirvana provide training to the Police, NHS and Social Services. Jasvinder acts as an expert witness in court, and survivors regularly speak out in schools across the country to raise awareness. In addition, Jasvinder and Karma Nirvana lobby government and after ten years of campaigning, forced marriage was criminalised in 2014.

In 2014 Karma Nirvana launched an annual ‘Day of Memory’ held each year on July 14th to remember all victims of Honour Killings.

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