Avon and Somerset Police and campaigners join forces to fight ‘honour’ violence

The Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens is supporting a petition in an effort to raise awareness of honour-based violence and forced marriage.

Pavanpreet Ahmed, a victim of honour-based violence and marriage campaign charity Karma Nirvana are leading the petition which has already amassed over 90,000 signatures.

The campaign, which is looking to introduce a day to remember the victims of honour killings, comes at the same time that changes in legislation are due to be announced making forced marriage a criminal offence.

Commissioner Mountstevens said: “Forced marriage and honour-based violence is a particularly difficult crime to tackle as it tends to happen behind closed doors and victims are terrified of coming forward.

“We must raise awareness of this unacceptable behaviour and I would encourage people to sign the petition.

“We all have a right to freedom of choice and I welcome the changes in formal legislation to make this abhorrent crime a criminal offence.

“If you are or have been a victim of forced marriage or honour-based violence I want you to know that there are people who can help you. Please know that you will be believed and taken seriously if you decide to come forward.”

Pavanpreet Ahmed said: “Every year British women like my mum are killed out of fear of shaming their families.

“Nobody knows how many because honour-based crime is so secretive. It happens behind closed doors, among families who will stop at nothing to protect their family’s ‘honour’.

“That’s why I’m backing Karma Nirvana’s call for a national day of remembrance for those women who lost their lives to honour based violence.

“Creating an awareness day is often the first step to creating change in society, by confronting the issue and acknowledging that it is happening.”

There are an estimated 5,000 honour killings a year across the world, and of these around 12 a year are known to happen in the UK.

To find out more about the petition go to www.change.org.

A link to the article can be found here.