By Shane McGinley
Police data shows attacks against women, girls jumped 57% year-on-year
The number of women and girls in the UK suffering ‘honour’ crimes at the hands of their families surged 57 percent in 2010, police data collected by a women’s rights charity showed.
Statistics obtained by London-based Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation (Ikwro) found more than 2,823 incidents were reported across 39 police forces in the UK last year.
Ikwro estimates that another 500 crimes in which police were involved were committed in the 13 force areas that did not provide data.
In the 12 police force areas that gave data for both 2009 and 2010, reports of ‘honour’ crimes jumped by 57 percent year-on-year – a figure that may only reflect the tip of the iceberg.
“These figures demonstrate that ‘honour’ based violence is not a minor problem but a very serious issue which affects thousands of people each year, many of whom will suffer high levels of abuse before they seek help,” a Ikwro spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
The charity is calling on the British government to roll out a national strategy to tackle ‘honour’-based violence, the spokesperson said.
In London, ‘honour’ crime has doubled to more than five times the national average, with 495 incidents reported last year. The West Midlands saw the second-highest rate of reported incidents, with 378 crimes reported.
Manchester saw the lowest number of crimes, with 189 reported, the data showed.
Ikwro said the perpetrators of such crimes tended to be close family members of the victims, who are predominately female.
“The victim’s personal conduct is thought to have brought shame on the family,” the charity said in a statement. “Reasons for this..dishonour have been known to be anything from refusing an arranged marriage, seeking a divorce, beginning a relationship that the family does not approve of or even being the victim of a sexual assault.”
A Home Office spokesman said: "We are determined to end
honour violence and recognise the need for greater consistency on the ground to
stop this indefensible practice.”