A Preston lecturer has united emergency services, charities and researches to fight against honour abuse.Advertisement
Dr Roxanne Khan led the creation of the Honour Abuse Research Matrix (HARM) at the University of Central Lancashire.
Former chief prosecutor for the North West Nazir Afzal OBE was at the launch event at Preston’s university
He spoke of his time dealing with honour-based violence and forced marriages during his career.
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Afzal said: “Without evidence, you might as well give up. It’s about sharing good practice and that’s what the HARM network will do.
“Be courageous. A network gives you the ability to have that support. Resilience comes from networks, from having people around you that can support you. That is why this network is important. It’s not just about sharing information, it’s about giving you support.”
The HARM network is working with Lancashire Police and the University of Bolton to investigate the experiences of gay South Asian people living in Lancashire.
Dr Roxanne Khan said: “This is a milestone moment in the fight to combat honour abuse, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and religious homophobia. A key aim is to give victims a voice and put their needs at the heart of decision-making. Already, 34 partners, including five police forces and 12 charities, have signed up to be part of the HARM Network to work on collaborative projects.”
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One of those who spoke out at the launch event about their experience was Matt Mahmood-Ogston from the Naz and Matt foundation who is trying to address religious homophobia after his ong-term partner Dr Naz Mahmood took his own life two days after coming out to his parents.
Matt said: “Because of tragic stories like ours, it’s really important that none of us operate in a bubble. The world and this problem is too big for any one group to tackle on their own. We could do so much more and to great effect and help more people if only we tap into the minds, resources and data that each of us possess. This is the power of the HARM network.”
A form of domestic abuse which is committed in the name of the honour code.
This is set at the discretion of male relatives and women who do not abide by the rules are punished for bringing shame on their family.
Rules could include a woman having a boyfriend, rejecting a forced marriage, pregnancy outside of marriage, seeking divorce or dressing inappropriately.
Communities and cultures where honour-based violence is more prevalent include Turkish, Kurdish, Afghai, South Asian, African, Middle Eastern, South and Easter European and the travelling community.
Males can also be victims of honour-based violence.