Joanne Payton Co-founder of HBVA and works with Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation and International Campaign Against Honour Killings.
In the video I posted last week, DCI Caroline Goode, the second heroine of Banaz: A love story commented that although the death of Banaz Mahmod had led to soul-searching and reforms amongst the police, there was a need for vigilance to ensure that this momentum wasn’t lost.
Foolhardy at best and potentially lethal at worst
And so it seems, because today the Independent reported that ACPO intend to make use of the DASH checklist voluntary in order to ‘cut red tape‘. DASH is the best current tool for assessing risk of HBV and making its use voluntary is bound to lead to missed opportunities for recognition.Crimes will not be tagged as HBV, and people at risk of HBV may not be referred to the specialist agencies they need. The specific protection measures that potential victims of HBV require – which may include protection from an extended family network – may be neglected. Thus Davina James-Hanman, director, Against Violence and Abuse, is quite right to describe ACPO’s plans as ‘foolhardy at best and potentially lethal at worst‘.ACPO ‘trialled’ the dumping of DASH in leafy Hampshire, not an area known for high prevalance of those ethnic minorities most affected by HBV.
DASH was a good tool, prepared with care and expertise. If anything, it should be extended and revised, rather than unceremoniously dumped. Assessing the potential for honour-based violence is not red tape. It is essential to the identification of an incredibly hazardous form of violence against women.