Iranian and Kurdish Women`s Rights Organisation (IKWRO)

Zahra Rasouli– IKWRO
24 September 2014
Iranian & Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO)
 Is a registered charity set up in 2002
 Provides holistic advice, advocacy and intensive case work for Middle Eastern
(Iranian, Kurdish, Turkish, Arab and Afghan) women and girls at risk of Domestic
Violence, Forced & Child Marriage, Female Genital Mutilation and “Honour”based Violence
 Provides counselling in Farsi/Dari, Kurdish, Arabic and English
 Provides training for professionals, women-only groups and Middle Eastern
 IKWRO campaigns to change laws and policies and for women’s rights & equality
What is the definition of ‘Honour’?
According to the Oxford dictionary, “honour” is:
 “High respect; great esteem”
 “The quality of knowing and doing what is morally right”
 “Something regarded as a rare opportunity and bringing pride
and pleasure; a privilege.”
“ Izzat”, “Namous”, “Sharaff” – why is the word ‘honour’
used in describing killing?
whose honor? What is honorable about murder?
What is “Honour” Based Violence? (Contd)
Why do we call it ‘honour’ based violence?
(and not ‘domestic’ violence or forced marriage)?
To confront and clarify HBV without any
misperceptions within practicing communities
To raise awareness with those who are at risk
To educate the wider society
There is no honour, only dishonour in ‘honour’ killing
What is ‘Honour’ Based Violence?
Defined by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) :
“An incident or crime which has or may have
been committed to protect or defend the
honour of the family and/or community.”
What is ‘Honour’-Based Violence?
Definition by IKWRO:
‘Honour’-Based Violence is any act of incidents and
crimes committed predominantly against women and
girls by their family or their community, often collectively,
to defend their perceived honour because it is believed
the person has done something to bring shame on the
family or the community.
It can take many forms including: ‘honour’ killing, forced marriage,
rape (group), forced suicide, acid attacks, mutilation, imprisonment,
abduction, beatings, death threats, blackmail, emotional abuse,
surveillance, harassment, disownment and forced abortion.
‘Cultural’ and political justifications:
Patriarchal power, control over women and girls
Culture-dogma-no remorse
Fear:Political Correctness
Fear:Professionals' fear of being accused of being Racists
‘HBV cases are too complex for us to intervene’!!!
It does not happen
Ex: attention seeking adult (police, safeguarding nurse
Unstable; drunk; why noone speaks about it-it is not true
Universal Women’s Rights, Human Rights.
Forced Marriage
not accepting it may lead to HBV
people forced into marriage are the potential victims of HBV
A marriage in which one or both spouses do not (or, in the
case of some adults with learning or physical disabilities,
cannot) consent to the marriage and duress is involved.
Duress can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual
and emotional pressure.
Arranged Marriage
A marriage in which families take a leading role, but the
parties have the free will and choice to accept or decline the
Multi-Agency Practice Guidelines: Handling Cases of Forced Marriage (June 2009)
A Forced Marriage is an Arranged marriage, but an Arranged
Marriage is not a Forced Marriage.
Why do forced marriages happen?
 To control unwanted behaviour and sexuality
particularly that of women, and to prevent ‘unsuitable’
 To uphold family honour or long-standing family
 Because of peer group or family pressure
 To protect perceived cultural or religious ideals
 To attempt to strengthen family links
 To ensure wealth & land remain within the family
 To assist claims for residence and citizenship
 To provide a carer for a disabled family member and to
reduce the ‘stigma’ of disability
Honour Based Violence Statistics in the UK
 5000 honour killings recorded per year worldwide (UN 2003)
 At least 12 honour killings per year in the UK (HO 2004)
 IKWRO has dealt with 2,200 cases via its telephone advice line.
We have provided face-to-face intensive casework to over 653
women of whom 145 were at a high risk of HBV. The majority
of these women were 16-25 years of age (2012)
 The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) dealt with over 1,485 cases in
 Honour Network helpline dealt with 5600 calls in 2012
Honour Based Violence Statistics in the UK
 A survey of police forces by IKWRO found that at least 2,823
incidents of HBV were recorded by police (2011)
 Only 4.85% of those recorded cases led to conviction.
 It is said that Asian women are 2-3 times more likely to
commit suicide or to self-harm than other women
 Statistics suggest that Black and Minority Ethnic (BME)
victims of domestic violence have 17 points of contact with
services before they are helped; the figure stands at 11
contacts for white women (Brittain, 2005)
Who are the victims of HBV & FM?
Within Middle Eastern, South Asian, Eastern European and
Traveller communities in the UK:
 Women
 Young women
 Children
 Men
 People with disabilities
 Gay, lesbian and trans-gender people
 Anyone who attempts to help them-within the family
 Any more?
Perpetrator/s are usually:
 Male family members (father, brother, husband,
uncles, cousins)
 Women family members (mother, sister, in laws, etc.)
 Bounty hunters
 Contract killers
 Members of victims’ communities
 People under the order of community leaders
 Any more?
Triggers - What is seen as ‘dishonour’:
 “Inappropriate” make-up or dress, going out
 Talking to a boy (or a girl), or to a stranger
 Expressions of sexual autonomy, public displays of
 Having a boyfriend
 Resisting a forced marriage
 Sex outside marriage, i.e. losing virginity, adultery,
 Being a victim of rape
Triggers - What is seen as ‘dishonour’, contd:
 Homosexuality
 Seeking divorce(even in the event of domestic
 Reporting/fleeing domestic violence or forced
 Autonomy with respect to education/employment
 Rumours or even suspicions of any of the above
Triggers – Forced Marriage, cont’d:
 Child/ girl missing school regularly
 Child/ girl does not return from holiday
 Employer receiving unexpected leave request and
noting employee anxiety
 Doctor or nurse noting patient is always accompanied
by guardian.
 Evidence of self-harm
 Social Services seeing runaway
 Older siblings all married early
Barriers to victims seeking protection:
 Underestimating the threat
 Fear of dishonouring family, ostracised by friends and
the community
 Fear of losing children, family and friends
 Feelings of guilt and shame
 Constant control by the family
 Fear of lack of confidentiality /sharing information
with family
Barriers to victims seeking protection, contd:
 Poor perception/lack of trust of police and other agencies
able to help
 Lack of resources including safe accommodation
 Language barriers
 Lack of recourse to public funds
 Immigration status (mis-spelling in the handout-sorry about
 Fear of being found after leaving
Psychological impact
 Living in fear
 Mistrusting everyone (feeling of being controlled,
watched, followed…)
 Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, flashbacks,
nightmares, hyper-vigilance
 Isolation, loneliness, shame and silence
 Losing self-esteem
 Self-blame, feelings of guilt
 Self harm, suicidal feelings
Responding to HBV Cases, who can help?
 Police
 Social Services
 Children’s services
 Education professionals e.g. teachers, school counsellors,
education advisors, etc.
 Health professionals, e.g. doctors, counsellors, midwives,
nurses, health visitors, etc.
 Local Authorities, e.g. welfare and housing agencies
 UK Border Agencies (the Home Office)
 Voluntary organisations, and many more
You can help!
How to stop HBV: 3P’s
Prevention: Preventing crime and saving victims, changing
the mindset of communities-educating girls and boysIKWRO’s campaign focus for this year – national cirruculum
 Protection: Full protection and support for victims –well
trained, sensitive workers with a victim centred approachwithout judging them-people who has the ability to
consider situations from a wider perspective
 Prosecution: Implementing law and policies, investigating
and prosecuting crimes, holding perpetrators accountable
(Law Enforcement) and adequate protection for witnesses
Victim-Centred Approach
Prevention: Preventing crime and saving victims
Believe them
Treat potential victims with sensitivity and seriousness
Be culturally sensitive
Reassure them about confidentiality. Speak to individuals alone and not in the
presence of family and friends
Do not disclose any information to family and friends
Listen carefully and pick up key words e.g.: rape, forced marriage, throwing acid,
imprisonment, abduction, beatings, death threats, blackmailing, surveillance,
harassment , controlling behaviours, and “honour” killings, etc.
Arrange for an interpreter carefully and check them with the victim. Remind them
about confidentiality, neutrality, word-for-word accuracy, non-advocacy- an interpreter
not from the community-they fail to translate-gender of the interpreter-that’s it you
have one choiceClients may be quite, afraid to talk-be patient, do not get angry with them-it is not
because they are not cooperative it is because they are suppressed- years and years of
Protection: Full protection and support for victims
Never use family members as translators
Take action immediately
Inform the victim of your action
Involve police and social services if appropriate (recording and
Do a risk assessment, Safety Plan & Risk management
HBV is also a child protection issue. Refer to Child Protection
Procedures if appropriate
Arrange for safe accommodation
Consult with or refer to expert organisations such as IKWRO and
the Forced Marriage Unit
Making Effective Referrals
Consider the needs of the client/s
To avoid duplication record carefully all the information you
have gathered from the clients
Inform the clients of the referral and listen to any concerns
When using interpreters, use a trusted source and check
with your client
Always check an organisations’ expertise and understanding
of HBV and FM before making any referrals
Give preference to gender specialist organisations
Do not refer clients at risk of HBV, FM and FGM to
community centers and religious establishments
Always follow up
Pay attention
Lets have a look at the Useful law enforcement in
‘honour’ based violence and forced marriage:
 Children Act
 Abduction, Kidnapping, Assault, Harassment, Stalking,
Threat to Kill, Sexual Offences, Rape Acts
 Forced Marriage Civil Act/ Forced Marriage Criminal
 Ward of Court
 Holding Passports
 Prosecution
 Witness Protection
 Restricted Freedom/House Arrest
Do Not:
 Attempt to mediate or to collude
 Share information without the consent of the victim
 Before sending letters, e-mails, texts or leaving messages
make sure it is safe (perpetrators are controlling)-perps call
us –”this is the last number my wife called
 Allow yourself to be affected by your perceptions of cultural
difference – remain professional
 Be judgmental
 Dismiss their fears, and NEVER send them back into harmful
 EVER use family members as translators
 EVER approach family or community leaders
 EVER underestimate the perpetrator/s of HBV
 Pay attention-Listen
Conclusion Checklist:
Staff Training & Awareness Raising
Signposting Practice Guidelines
Monitoring and Evaluation
Record Keeping
Risk Assessment – on-going/links
Victim-centred Approach
Danger of Family Mediation
Agency-specific requirements
Consult with expert organisations:
IKWRO, Forced Marriage Unit
Iranian &Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation
[email protected]
[email protected]
Tel: 0207 9206460

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