Federal government funding Ottawa project to end ‘honour-based’ violence

The federal government said Tuesday it is funding a research project at a rape crisis centre in Ottawa to help understand and prevent the “heinous” crime of honour-based violence.

In Ottawa, the euphemistically labeled “honour killing” concept turned into a horrifying reality in 2006 when Hasibullah Sadiqi shot to death his sister and her fiancée. In 2009 a jury found Hasibullah Sadiqi, 23, guilty of two counts of first-degree murder after they heard witnesses describe how he grew angry at his sister’s fiancée not receiving her father’s blessing before their engagement.

Dr. Kellie Leitch, Minister for the Status of Women, attended Carleton University to announce that $74, 259 will be directed to a new Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre (ORCC) project over the next 18 months. Girls and women between the ages of 14 and 20 will be able to participate in the project, the minister said.

“Some of it is preventative to make sure that they avoid these circumstances,” said Leitch. “Part of it is making sure they’re educated with respect to their rights and what they can do.”

The government says there have been 13 cases of so-called honour killings in Canada since 1991 involving 17 victims. Status of Women Canada defines the crime as, “a form of family violence perpetrated against a family member, usually female, who is perceived to have brought shame or dishonour to the family.”

The Ottawa Police Service and the Government of Canada say they do not have concrete data on the issue because it is not a separately defined Criminal Code offence.

The ORCC’s Tara Henderson said the government funding will help the centre and its partners develop a better understanding of why so-called honour killings happen.

“People don’t talk about it,” said Henderson. “It involves love and familial bonds and that’s a tough thing to condemn people in your family or to villainize your own family.”

This project will try to break the silence surrounding this form of violence which usually targets women. It’s one of the funding announcements the federal government has unveiled in the past week for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.

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