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As in previous years, the 14th July is the UK’s memorial day for so-called “honour” based abuses. This date is significant in as much as it is the birthday of Shafilea Ahmed a young woman who was murdered, aged just 17, by her parents Farzana & Iftikar, for bringing what they felt was “shame” to their family in 2003. She had simply refused an arranged marriage.

The conviction of her murderers took several years. At the conclusion of the trial, her close friends issued a statement:

Shafilea was an extremely intelligent young lady who we have no doubt would have accomplished her personal ambitions of becoming a lawyer, yet this opportunity was unfairly snatched away from her. If there is one thing we pray will come from this is that her beautiful face and tragic story will inspire others to seek help to make them realise that this kind of vile treatment—no matter what culture or background someone is from—is not acceptable, and there is a way out

Domestic abuse covers many different strands of abuse and so-called “honour” abuse can become a deadly form of power & control. It can often be described as extreme DA in that there is often not just one perpetrator but there could be a number of people all monitoring and contributing to the control, confinement and subjugation of the victim.

As a charity who encounters a wide range of domestic abuse we feel a strong responsibility to be as inclusive as we can in how we help manage cases and train professionals. With this in mind we are excited to announce that, with funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner, we have recruited a new member of staff to help us over the next nine months.

Our Diversity Lead for Ethnic Minorities will be starting with us on National Memorial Day!

She will have several strands to her role which will include:

  • Looking at our training on DA and how we ensure it is inclusive and respectful.
  • Scoping various diverse community groups to see how we can improve things for victims and survivors and the communities themselves.
  • Considering how we:
    • reach into communities with our messages to reduce the risk of DA.
    • increase awareness of the issues through education of the harm done by DA.
    • recruit DA Champions from within these minority communities.
    • support and develop such DA Champions in their work.
    • share learning from DHRs and research
  • Being an active member of the DA Champion networks in sharing experiences.
  • Being a voice for those with none.
  • Creating and developing a community within our new DA champs’ Hub for those Champions working within ethnic minority communities.

In addition to this new post, we have further consultancy support to help develop our training – so as to enhance our collective understanding and practice.

Romy Briant MBE
Chair of Trustees