Savera UK Backs #Push4Change

Savera UK has long advocated for a comprehensive statutory definition of ‘honour’-based abuse, seeing first-hand how the lack of clarity of the existing definition impedes progress in our mission to end HBA and harmful practices for good.

Today (Friday 8th March, 2024) we are joining peer organisations within our sector, survivors of HBA, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs and HBA Policing lead, Commander Ivan Balhatchet to #Push4Change and call on the government to introduce a statutory definition of HBA, which has already received formal recognition and support as a key recommendation from the Women and Equality Committee’s inquiry into Honour Based Abuse in July 2023, for which Savera UK provided evidence.

You can read the join letter here

Savera UK CEO and Founder, Afrah Qassim, said: “The impact of a statutory definition for HBA on our sector, survivors of HBA and those still at risk, would be significant. It would lead to better understanding, identification and reporting of HBA, facilitating more effective and appropriate responses.

“It will protect those of risk by giving professionals a robust framework to work with and it will empower survivors by recognising the severity of the issue and make it easier for them to seek help. It will also allow consistent reporting that feeds into improved data collection, which can be used to inform policy and service delivery.

“The statutory definition and framework that we call for cannot not be limited to simply female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, and those most sensational and shocking cases of HBA.

“It must include reference to the full range of characteristics of HBA, like the core elements revealed in our baseline research that was published in 2022, as well as a full scope of harmful practices, from virginity testing and dowry abuse, to conversion ‘therapy’.

“It also needs to address the issue of the definition’s vulnerability to cultural stereotypes and the lack of understanding that it perpetuates, as this narrow lens excludes a sizeable minority of individuals at risk from atypical communities.

“Ongoing research by Savera UK and the University of Liverpool has shown that there are significant similarities between stereotypical and atypical HBA cases, which highlights the importance of defining HBA by its characteristics and not demographics, as pressures to uphold ‘honour’ can be placed on anyone regardless of demographic characteristics.

“A statutory definition of HBA is also only the start of our journey. It will allow for more informed decision-making and allocation of resources and funds, but where these are allocated is vital. Improving policy, definition and law-making is only effective if it is adequately communicated to those who need to be most aware – namely professionals and communities.

“More investment needs to be made into those organisations working on the frontline in communities to raise awareness, challenge stereotypes and break myths that allow HBA to be perpetuated. Using robust frameworks to educate and empower communities is how the fight against HBA will be won, and how we will end harmful practices for good.”