Wed 12 Jul 17
Specialist support for the victims of honour-based abuse, forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) is to be extended in Hertfordshire as a result of a new report based on research by the Universities of Roehampton and Essex.
The report, which was commissioned by Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, found that the county had recorded over 200 cases of honour-based abuse including 10 cases of forced marriage in the last four years. 77% of the victims were female.
One of the report’s authors, Professor Pam Cox from our Department of Sociology, said, “Hertfordshire’s support for these victims is an important local step in a wider global effort to end violence against women and girls.”
The additional specialist services, which will address the specific needs of victims of honour-based abuse, forced marriage and FGM, will be brought in next year.
"The findings from this report show that these terrible forms of abuse do occur in Hertfordshire and the right steps need to be put in place to deal with them effectively. Whilst it is difficult to understand the true impact of these crimes, this study has highlighted areas where additional support and resources are required to assist those affected."
The report, Honour-Based Violence and Abuse, Female and Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage: Shaping Services for Priority Victims in Hertfordshire, was completed in April 2017. It was conducted by Professor Aisha K. Gill from the University of Roehampton, Professor Pam Cox and Ruth Weir from Essex and had consultant input from Professor Sandra Walklate from the University of Liverpool.
Professor Gill, an Essex graduate, has just been awarded a CBE for her work in this field.
Actions recommended in the report will be carried out through an honour-based abuse subgroup, which sits under the Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership, and is chaired by Programme Support Officer for Hertfordshire Constabulary, Samantha Allen.
"Experience has shown us that issues like honour-based abuse, FGM and forced marriage exist in Hertfordshire and it cannot be assumed that they are distant problems for other communities to tackle. We welcome this report which is already informing the work of the sub-group, as we work towards a single multi-agency policy that will result in victims receiving a consistent level of support regardless of where they report the abuse."
Honour-based abuse is an umbrella term for a collection of crimes which may have been committed in the belief of protecting or defending a family or community’s honour.