More than 250 cases of so-called honour based abuse were reported in Northamptonshire over a seven-year period, police revealed today.
The figures were released as part of the force’s support for a national day of memory in aid of the lives of those murdered in the name of “honour”.
A spokesman said: “Honour-based abuse (HBA) is a practice of using control by perpetrators who believe that a family member has shamed the family or community by breaking the so called ‘honour code’.
“While the most extreme end of HBA can be murder, it can also include things like physical and emotional abuse, coercive control and forced marriage.
“Between 2009 and 2016, Northamptonshire Police dealt with more than 250 reported cased of HBA, 20 of these were male victims. The largest age group of victims ranged between 15 and 25. The perpetrators in the majority of cases were family members,” a spokesman added.
A national campaign launched by Karma Nirvana - a charity that supports victims and survivors of forced marriage and HBA, is this year celebrating what would have been the 30th birthday of Shafilea Ahmed - a victim who was killed by her own parents when they believed she had damaged their family honour. Shafilea went missing on September 11, 2003 from her home in Cheshire, and was reported missing by a teacher. Her parents claimed that she had run away, but her remains were discovered in February 2004.
“In 2012 her parents were convicted of her murder. They perceived that she had bought shame on the family,” the spokesman said.
Detective Inspector James Avery, from Crime and Safeguarding, said: “We are taking part in the national day of memory to remember the lives of those murdered in the name of ‘honour’.
“The word ‘honour’ in terms of HBA is wholly inaccurate as there is nothing honourable in such incidents of abuse and violence. As part of our focus to protect people from harm, we are determined to support and protect those at risk from such abuse.
“While we understand how difficult it can be for victims to come forward, we want to reassure those who are affected that we are here to listen, protect and support them.
“This week, we will be raising awareness of HBA to encourage everyone to break the silence and officers will be wearing wrist bands in remembrance and solidarity.”
Breakdown reported cases of HBA in Northamptonshire:
2009 - 35
2010 - 38
2011 - 45
2012 - 31
2013 - 32
2014 - 27
2015 - 31
2016 – 12
Number of male victims
2009 - 4
2010 - 1
2011 - 5
2012 - 2
2013 - 3
2014 - 2
2015 – 2
2016 – 1