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14 July 2017 

Force remembers victims of abuse as it urges young people to speak outHBA

Bedfordshire Police is supporting the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Honour Based Abuse today (Friday).

Today would have been Shafilea Ahmed’s 31st birthday. Shafilea was murdered by her parents in Warrington, for not complying with their desires for her to get married.
Coordinated by charity Karma Nirvana, the day is an opportunity to reflect on those who have lost their lives through so called ‘honour based abuse’ and those who have survived this horrific crime.

Last year Bedfordshire Police received 153 reports of honour based abuse or forced marriage and issued 16 forced marriage protection orders, but the force knows this figure doesn’t paint the real picture and the crime remains hidden for too long.
Individuals, families and communities may take drastic steps to preserve and protect their so –called ‘honour’.

Perceived immoral behaviours, such as wearing make-up or being deemed to wear inappropriate dress, interfaith relationships, rejecting an arranged marriage or declaring being homosexual can see young people subjected to serious harm, and in some cases killed.

Detective Inspector Michelle Welsh, from the force’s Public Protection Hub, said: “The impact of these crimes on victims is devastating. Tackling such crime and protecting victims of this type of abuse is a priority for Bedfordshire Police.

“Often young people are withdrawn from education early or taken and left abroad for extended periods of time, isolating them from help and support. Going through with a marriage or obeying the wishes of their family and community can be seen as the only option.

“We want to reach out to young people. There is no honour in abuse. It is our responsibility to protect victims and tackle this offending. We urge those concerned about someone or subjected to abuse to report this horrendous crime. There is support available and we are dedicated to keeping you safe and putting an end to this abuse.

“We continue to work closely with partners to raise awareness, educate professionals and practitioners and build confidence in our communities to come forward. Please have the courage to speak out.”

Anyone concerned about someone or being subjected to such abuse is urged to speak out by calling police on 101. Always call 999 in an emergency. 

Other support services:

Domestic Abuse 24 hour National Helpline: 0808 2000247

You can follow the Day of Remembrance on Twitter following hashtags #WeRemember and #DayofMemory