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Honour Based Violence and Female Genital Mutilation

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1 Honour Based Violence and Female Genital Mutilation
Sergeant Jan Fletcher Safeguarding Team Hampshire Constabulary

2 What is Honour Based Violence?
A crime or incident that has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of a family and or a community. (ACPO definition) The Hampshire HBV Multi-agency guidance explains that “honour relates to the concept that the reputation and social status of an individual, a family or community is based on the behaviour and morality of its members”

3 Communities Affected Cases encountered in following communities;
Turkish, Kurdish, Afghani, South Asian (India, Pakistan etc.), Muslim Malaysian and Indonesian, African, middle Eastern (Oman, Yemen, Iraqi Kurdistan etc), European (Albania, Chechnya, Greece, within immigrant populations in France and Germany to name but a few), and some travelling families regardless of origin. It can happen to men, women and children

4 Significant generalisations in families where HBV is practiced
Marriage important Children belong to the whole family Decisions are collective Honour is held by women, but protected by men Families Can number 30 + with a head couple Respect and authority is automatic not earned Honour is more important than an individuals health and wellbeing

5 Legalised honour crime
Under the Jordanian legal Penal Code 340 “he who discovers his wife or one of his female relatives committing adultery and kills, wounds or injures one of them, is exempted from any penalty” Under the Syrian legal code “he who catches his wife or one of his ascendants, descendants or sister committing adultery or illegitimate sexual acts with another and he killed or injured one or both of them benefits from an exemption of penalty”

6 Why is Honour important?
Business usage – families with increased social status can receive material benefits such as increased income for the self-employed and greater trade for owners of shops and businesses. Business partnerships – can be harmed if one party is dishonoured. Use of local places of worship – can be excluded/isolated if dishonoured or not seen to be dealing with the dishonour Status in the community – ostracised and children may be rejected at school by fellow members of their cultural/ethnic/religious group Community leaders and politicians can lose support, prestige and influence as a result Marriage commodity Sense of belonging in a perceived racist world Honour in itself is a positive concept An imam (Arabic: إمام‎, plural: أئمة A'immah; Persian: امام‎) is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Imams may lead Islamic worship services, serve as community leaders, and provide religious guidance. It may also be used in the form of a prefix title with scholars of renown

7 Main issues Young men and women failing to abide by the rules set by the family Forced marriage Women and some men brought to the country under sponsorship arrangements and mistreated within the family home Domestic violence/relationship difficulties resulting in dishonour

8 Example of how parents react…
Extract from Panorama documentary March 2012: Neina was disowned by her family for running away from her husband when he beat her. "Every time he hit me… my parents would say: 'Why did you raise your voice to him? You know you deserved it,” Neina knows what motivated her parents. "For them to be disowned in society is a matter of honour for them. It's easier to sacrifice a son or a daughter than it is to sacrifice a society or your extended family, who you are trying to please all the time." Neina nodded when I asked her if she was ever afraid she would be killed. "A lot of times, even now... my Dad has already said it to me: If you leave him (your husband) you are going to make me do something I don't want to do.”

9 What forms can it take? Assaults
Versions of the outlawed practice of Sati – Hindu custom Disfiguring Sexual assault and rape Kidnap Forced marriage False imprisonment Forced/attempted suicide Threats to kill Forced abortion Harassment/stalking – constant surveillance Pressure to return to home country Excessive restrictions on home life (not being allowed to use phone, internet or develop friendships outside of the wider family/friends circle) Dowry abuse – where the bride is perceived to have brought in less dowry than expected by the in laws and abused/assaulted because of this. Naeema Azar was a self-assured real estate agent in Pakistan when she was attacked with acid by her ex-husband. Blinded by the attack, she is now looked after by her son Ahmed. “It took one second to ruin my life completely,” the scarred woman says. “My face was ruined and nobody was punished at all.”

10 What triggers it? Loss of virginity Causing gossip
Refusing an arranged marriage Non-approved relationship Seeking a divorce Ideological conflicts Homosexuality Child custody issues Running away from home ‘Westernised’ lifestyle eg. smoking, wearing lipstick, clothing Reporting DA/forced marriage Rape Pregnancy outside approved relationship

11 Warning signs History of HBV or Forced marriage within the family circle Intensification of restriction of movement eg. Financial control Threats designed to bring the ‘offender’ against honour into line Suicidal behaviour of victim. Individuals who are perceived to have damaged their honour may become depressed, self harm, suicidal or even abusive. Sudden travel arrangements around, outside of the UK or to ‘home’ country Reports of domestics at the home

12 Child Protection Triggers and Warning signs
Truancy Decline in performance or punctuality Low motivation at school Poor exam results Being withdrawn from education by parents Not allowed to attend extra-curricular activities Self harm/attempted suicide Eating disorders Depression Isolation Substance misuse/deteriorating behaviour eg. shoplifting Siblings forced to marry Family disputes Running away from home/misper reports

13 Who does it? Family members including in-laws and extended family members/close family friends Hired bounty hunters and “hit men” Family members who live abroad or who are “under age” *Police and other agencies are sometimes used to track down victims. Crimes and instances of mental illness or disability are reported to agencies to ensure response

14 What to do Listen Believe, even if it’s beyond your understanding
Take action to protect (consider Children's Act) There may not be another chance… Hampshire Domestic Abuse Forum guidance document pan Hampshire If she is living at home, it is important to make some safeguarding plans for the future in case she has to leave as a result of violence and abuse. Details of what this might involve are available in the Home Office leaflet for BME women and children “Three steps to escaping violence against women and girls” available at:

15 Lastly … to remember A 16 year old Iraqi Kurd was repeatedly stabbed by her father who then slit her throat, because he disapproved of her western dress and her Christian boyfriend (2003). This was after they had fled to the UK to flee Saddam Hussein’s regime. A 20 year old Iraqi Kurd was raped and tortured before being strangled to death with a shoelace by her cousins instructed by her father and uncle. Her crime was to try and escape an arranged marriage that was violent. They put her body in a suitcase and buried her in a garden (2006). A 19 year old Pakistani wanted to divorce her husband (who she had only seen twice since their marriage aged 15) to marry a man she was in love with and 7 months pregnant by. Her mother held her down and her brother strangled her to death with a plastic flex after she refused to have an abortion (1999). A 17 year old Pakistani drank bleach as a cry for help after she was introduced to a potential suitor during a short trip to Pakistan. She was murdered by her parents soon after their return to the UK as they perceived this act of defiance, along with her desire to lead a Westernised lifestyle, to bring shame on the family. Her parents held her down, forced a plastic bag into her mouth, blocked her airways until her legs stopped kicking. This was witnessed by all her siblings (2003, convicted 2010 following her sister’s disclosure that she witnessed the murder)

16 Lastly to remember…. Hampshire cases
19 year old Bangladeshi female reported HBV - being assaulted by her brother and two sisters because they witnessed her kissing a white British male. She was kidnapped, threats to kill her were made, She was assaulted by having her hair cut off and punch / kicks resulting in ABH injuries. Sri Lankan female was taken from her home address under false pretences believing that she was going to be driven elsewhere. She was taken to an address where she was physically assaulted and threats were made to her with regard to her relationship with a male relative of the offenders. She was held against her will but managed to secure her release by holding a sign against a window alerting passers by who in turn contacted police.

17 Female Genital Mutilation World Health Org. definition
All procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural, religious or other non-therapeutic reasons. WHO factsheet ( )

18 4 types of FGM Type 1 (known as sunna)
Removal of clitoris hood or clitoris hood and clitoris Type 2 Removal of clitoris and partial or full removal of labia minora (inner vaginal lips) Type 3 Removal of clitoris labia minora with narrowing/stitching of the vaginal opening (known as infibulation) Type 4 Any other forms of piercing, inserting substances (corrosive substances or herbs), burning of the clitoris and surrounding tissue A number of cultural foundations can be claimed. First, the claim of religion: circumcision is said to be prescribed by the Koran or the Bible. However, such texts cannot be found in these scriptures, although they do exist in some authoritative interpretations.9 A second basis lies in the mythical belief that the female sexual organ, in particular the clitoris, has a detrimental effect on male sexuality, or even on the baby. It is self-evident that no valid foundation exists for such a belief. A third reason is the necessity to control the sexuality of the woman. Without circumcision the woman may threaten to become promiscuous and no longer be under the control of her husband. Circumcision purges the woman of her overabundant sexuality and ensures that the man is able to respond adequately to the sexual demands of his wife. This image of purity is specifically expressed by the practice of infibulation, where the (potential) wife, remains, as it were, sealed until the moment that her husband can make his rightful claim on her sex. A corollary of this is the argument that circumcision increases the beauty of the woman, but – given the horrific mutilation which results from the more severe forms of circumcision – little significance can be attached to this argument. Finally, circumcision also serves as an initiation ritual, in the transition from girlhood to womanhood. This argument, however, is meaningless in cases where circumcision is performed at an extremely young age.

19 Where? 28 African Countries
Middle East, Oman, Yemen, Bahrain, Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, South America It happens everywhere – recent FGM case in UK press – first UK prosecution. France have had over 100 prosecutions because more proactive in checking children from certain communities – more reactive in UK

20 How and who? (worst case scenario)
No anaesthesia or antiseptic used Girls made to sit on ice prior to the ceremony Herbs placed on tongue to retract it so as not to bite it off in agony Pastes of herbs and porridge or ashes used to stop bleeding from the wounds Knives, glass, sharpened finger nails used Old women in the community with no medical training, sometimes village barbers

21 Resulting injuries and damage
Significant injuries result, including serious haemorrhage and broken bones. Serious bleeding from clitoral artery Acute urine retention and infections Menstruation difficulties Consummation of marriage can take months Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Difficulties at birth

22 Why? Potential origins Rite of passage into womanhood
Marriage commodity Honour, tradition Protect and preserve virginity “Religion” a duty Believed to cure insanity, depression, hysteria and nymphomania

23 Law 14 years imprisonment
Girl or women must be a UK national, resident or settled person (Immigration Act) Offender can be a person who assists, aids, abets, counsels or procures another to carry out the mutilation, even if it takes place abroad Offender can be someone who assists, aids, abets, counsels or procures a female to perform the mutilation on themselves

24 What to do? Consider girls with injuries consistent with FGM and ask the questions Consider risk to female babies of mums who have had FGM Report all requests for FGM Consider girls removed from or missing from education, especially if you know of plans for a trip to the ‘home’ country Daughters of Eve/Orchid Project/Forward UK

25 Forced Marriage One or more partners do not (or in the case of some vulnerable adults, cannot) consent to the marriage and duress is involved. Duress can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure. Forced marriage is an abuse of Human Rights and cannot be justified on any grounds. FM is child abuse (under 18s) – a strategy meeting at an early stage is crucial. Forced marriage is different from an arranged marriage.  In an arranged marriage families of both spouses take a leading role in arranging the marriage but the choice whether or not to accept the arrangement remains with the prospective spouses.   Arranged marriages have worked well in society for many years. Forced marriage will be criminalised later this year…

26 Forced Marriage Statistics
1302 cases in 2013 received by the FMU giving support or advice (tel: ) 40% were children (under 18) Pakistan (42.7%), India (10.9%), Bangladesh (9.8%), Afghanistan (2.8%), Somalia (2.5%), Iraq (1.5%), Nigeria (1.1%), Saudi Arabia (1.1%), Yemen (1%), Iran (0.8%), Tunisia (0.8%), The Gambia (0.7%), Egypt (0.6%) and Morocco (0.4%). (5.4% cases unknown origin) 9.9% in South East which does not include London. 82% female 18% male 97 of these people identified as having disabilities and 12 LGBT 74 different countries

27 Family Law – current legislation
The Forced marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 came into force on 25th November The act facilitates obtaining a Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO) Examples of types of order: Prevent FM Hand over passports Stop intimidation and violence Reveal the whereabouts of a person Stop someone from being taken abroad Prevent contact; and Change a name

28 Guidance for those travelling abroad for FM
We can only help British citizens abroad. If they still decide to go after speaking to you, ensure they leave the following with you preferably or a trusted friend: full address and telephone number of where they are going to stay abroad passport copy Copy of tickets/all your flight details (there and back) Advise them to find out where the nearest embassy is and keep the phone number with them at all times. Advise them to take some money with them. US dollars deemed best currency

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