06:00PM, Friday 06 July 2018
‘Honour-based’ killings and abuse is the target of the latest police crackdown campaign.
The third phase of Thames Valley Police’s Hidden Harm campaign aims to defend victims from violence and abuse committed to ‘defend’ the perceived honour of a family or community.
It is estimated there are 12 honour-based killings a year in the UK, according to the Honour Based Violence Awareness Network, and Thames Valley Police has dealt with 1,200 cases of honour-based abuse in the past four years, 60 of which occurred in the Royal Borough.
Honour-based abuse can be physical or mental, with the victims perceived to have been ‘dishonourable’ by going against traditions or cultural customs.
This could be for refusing an arranged marriage, wearing clothing seen as incorrect or inappropriate or for having a same-sex relationship.
Det Supt Nick John said: “The abuse doesn’t have to be physical; it can be emotional or sexual and may involve threats of violence, false imprisonment, stalking, forced marriage and, in some cases, even murder. Anyone can be a victim of honour-based abuse.
“This campaign isn’t about singling out any particular faith or culture. It’s about getting people to understand that abuse in the name of ‘honour’ is a form of just that – abuse – regardless of the reason behind it.”
Thames Valley Police will be raising awareness of honour-based abuse for the next two weeks, with social media activity and officers out in the community.
Poster adverts will also be put up in spots where honour-based abuse is most common.
The police force hopes the campaign will give victims the confidence to come forward.
Det Supt John said: “Our first priority is always to keep people safe from harm.
“Just because you contact us doesn’t mean you’re going to be taken away from your family or that they’ll be prosecuted.
“So-called ‘honour crime’ can escalate quickly, so it’s important people understand that there are lots of different ways we can help.”
For more information on the campaign visit: www.thamesvalley.police.uk/hiddenharm
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