Savera UK exists to end ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) and harmful practices. This is our mission and the area in which we seek to always make an impact.
Each year, we look back on our work, measure our success and share our findings with our funders, partners, peers and supporters in our Impact Report.
That future is a world without HBA and harmful practices.
Today, Savera UK has published its third annual Impact Report. In it we look back on the service delivered in 2022/23 as well as the accomplishments and successes.
Over the past 12 months we have not only delivered our direct intervention services, education programmes and campaign work, but we have also redeveloped our visual identity, redefined our messaging and created our three-year Business and Communication Strategy, which tells the Savera UK story so far and looks forward to our vision for the future.
Between April 2022 and March 2023 we…
Safeguarded and advocated on behalf of 178 active clients
Spent 4,046 hours working to help those at risk of, and survivors of, ‘honour’-based abuse and harmful practices find their ‘Savera’ (meaning new beginning)
Engaged 10,354 people through Savera UK events and campaigns
Reached 4,383 professionals via training and awareness courses, education and awareness sessions, events and conferences about HBA and harmful practices
We invite you to explore our latest Impact Report and see the progress that has been made, hear from our survivors, our supporters and learn more about our future plans and how you can join us.
More than £321,000 has been awarded to Savera UK by the PCC through a successful application for the Government’s Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Interventions Fund. The funds will allow for training of professionals when spotting the signs of HBA and harmful practices and will equip them with the right tools when working with those at risk.
Through the funding Savera UK’s Direct Intervention Team will grow and the charity will work to build new partnerships with organisations in Cheshire in order to raise awareness among professionals and communities.
John Dwyer, PCC for Cheshire, said: “I am delighted to secure this funding and that the partnership with Savera UK is growing. Educating and empowering practitioners to spot the signs of HBA and respond appropriately and confidently to those at risk is extremely important.
“By raising awareness of HBA and harmful practices, we can help to break the taboo around the subject, providing support for people who feel there may be no other way out.
“In my Police and Crime Plan, I make clear my commitment to helping those who have a greater risk of becoming a victim of crime. I believe this enhancement of the project being delivered by Savera UK will help safeguard and support survivors and help them to continue with their lives.”
Afrah Qassim, Founder and CEO of Savera UK, said: “I would like to thank the Police and Crime Commissioner for this opportunity to grow our relationship, supporting the development and delivery of Savera UK’s specialist services within in Cheshire. Since 2016 the charity has delivered one-to-one safeguarding and advocacy to those at risk and survivors of HBA and harmful practices, while campaigning to end these violations of human rights for good.
“Misconceptions about HBA and harmful practices can put those experiencing these types of abuse at further risk, both directly and indirectly. We have seen first-hand how professionals working closely with those at risk can be unaware of the level of danger.
“Our specialist team works tirelessly to challenge decisions which risk putting survivors in further danger.
“It’s through these experiences we know how vital education is in ending HBA and harmful practices for good. Through delivering education and training sessions in Cheshire thanks to this funding, we will raise awareness among professionals, young people and the general public to help safeguard those at risk.
“Focusing our work in Cheshire, knowing we will be able to reach more people at risk and raise further awareness is an exciting prospect and helps us continue to work towards our vision of a world without HBA and harmful practices.”
In March, Savera UK marked International Women’s Day by holding a celebratory lunch for our amazing clients, who continually overcome hurdles in the face of adversity and are testament themselves of how we can #BreakTheBias caused by gender inequality.
While Savera UK supports people of all genders, the majority of our clients are women, which is why it’s important for us to celebrate International Women’s Day and the strides that continue to be made to eliminate harmful practices and gender-based abuse.
To celebrate the day, Savera UK brought together the women we support for a Middle Eastern banquet where we celebrated their strengths, while looking towards a brighter future for all women.
Speaking about the lunch, one Savera UK client said: “I enjoyed that I was able to meet together with other women who are from diverse backgrounds and to watch how they felt happy with the gathering.” She also added: “I felt honoured for being valued on that day.”
Savera UK support worker Emma said: “It is important to remember how fantastic women are and to celebrate our strengths on a day like International Women’s Day.
“It counters the narrative that many of our clients have been led to believe within their communities, which can hold misogynistic and harmful attitudes towards women. It is great to help them build their confidence and see their strengths that have often been overlooked or even shamed.”
Describing the atmosphere at the lunch, Emma said: “it felt like a celebration, it was lovely, united and positive” adding that it was “very rewarding to be able to offer some normality” and “made all the preparation worth it”.
Unfortunately social work student Taylor, who helped organise the event was unable to attend, but we would like to thank her for her work in bringing together the event.
We provide a safe environment for those at risk of these practices regardless of their age, gender, sexuality or culture. Anyone can be affected by HBA, which is abuse perpetrated in the name of so-called ‘honour’. The abuse carried out can range from isolating/imprisoning an individual and ostracising them from a community to being killed, or what is known as a so-called ‘honour’ killing.
The people who are at risk of HBA and other culturally specific harmful practices may be vulnerable as a result and in need of specialist support from professionals who have an in-depth understanding of the issues and the effect they can have on survivors.
At Savera UK our clients are at the forefront of all our work, and when seeking donations we want to make sure the money is being used in a way that addresses the needs of survivors and helps them process their experiences.
That is why we’re asking for your help.
We continue to improve our services based on feedback from our clients, who have expressed a wish for us to expand the emotional support we offer by providing therapies and working with specialist therapist professionals who have a good understanding of HBA, forced marriage, FGM and other harmful practices.
Savera UK wants to provide clients with services that actively work to ensure cultural sensitivity and demonstrate an understanding of the issues our clients may be facing. These specialist therapies will involve modern and alternative therapies including art, drama and music, which have been proven to help clients explore difficult memories. Importantly these types of therapies often don’t require a lot of talking, meaning those clients who do not speak English as a first language are easily able to engage.
These therapy sessions will be focused on trauma and attachment, with a particular focus on the relationships between parents and children which can become negatively impacted by harmful practices. We hope to aid the rebuilding of relationships that have been affected by these practices during Theraplay sessions. Theraplay is a form of therapy that involves the parent and child being guided to form positive attachments through patterns of playful, healthy interaction.
We can’t provide these supportive therapies to our clients without your help.
To be able to conduct these sessions for clients with professional therapists, we need to raise £1,500, which will then be matched by the National Emergencies Trust Local Action Fund.
The increase was identified following freedom of information (FoI) requests for data on the number of HBA cases to constabularies across the UK. Twenty-eight out of 39 constabularies responded to these requests, revealing that numbers of such cases have risen from 884 in 2016 to 1,599 in 2020.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP), the UK’s fourth-largest constabulary, was unable to respond to the FoI request due to the installation of a new IT system, potentially leaving a large gap in true figures.
Savera UK CEO and founder, Afrah Qassim, said: “Last year, 83 percent of referrals into our service were individuals at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse, so this significant increase in cases across the UK is sadly not surprising, but it should be a wake-up call to all of us, including police, social services and educational establishments.
“While increased reporting and people reaching out for help is a positive development, we know from working within affected communities that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Signs of these forms of abuse are too often missed by statutory services, or not dealt with in an appropriate manner, which is why many at risk may not feel like they can come forward for help.
“We agree with Imran Khodabocus from the Family Law Company, who is calling for improved education around ‘honour’-based abuse and other harmful practices, such as forced/child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) and we also stand with theorganisations calling for a fresh review of policing of honour-based abuse by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has only served to exacerbate these issues. During lockdown, calls and referrals to Savera UK increased by 30 percent. We remain committed to supporting survivors and those at risk, regardless of age, culture, sexuality or gender, as well as working with schools and universities, professional services and police forces across the UK to improve understanding and education around these issues.”
Savera UK, a leading charity that tackles culturally-specific abuse such as ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA), forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), has joined forces with Zonta Club London (part of Zonta International) to create an activism toolkit to support the global ‘Orange the World’ campaign.
For the second consecutive year, the two organisations are partnering to raise awareness of gender-based violence and abuse in the UK and around the world. The toolkit provides individuals and organisations with resources and downloadable assets to participate in the UN’s annual 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, which takes place between the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls on 25th November and Human Rights Day on 10th December.
With themes for each day ranging from remembrance, allyship and knowledge, to inclusion, advocacy and action and a bank of resources including social media assets, links to local and national charities and support services and a calendar of local events, the organisations hope that the toolkit will encourage and make it easier for even more people to engage with the campaign later this month.
Both charities highlight that this year’s campaign is more vital than ever, as violence against women remains devastatingly pervasive in our society. In the 28 weeks following the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard on 3rd March this year, 81 other women were killed in circumstances where the suspect is a man. A recently-released government survey also found that 97% of 18–24 year-old women have been sexually harassed, while 80% of all women have been sexually harassed in public.
Savera UK CEO and Founder, Afrah Qassim, said: “The statistics about gender-based violence are shocking yet, sadly, no longer surprising. Across their lifetime, 1 in 3 women – around 736 million – will be subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner. This figure has remained largely unchanged over the last 10 years.
“It has never been more important for people to take action against gender-based violence. However, last year, we realised that people wanted to engage and support the Orange the World campaign, but didn’t always know how to or perhaps couldn’t find the resources they needed.
“Our Orange the World 2021 toolkit is a starting point for people. A place where they can find information and ideas for ways that they can take action to tackle gender-based violence and abuse. We have worked with our partners, Zonta Club London, Liverpool City Council and a range of other city partners to highlight the work being done in the city region and beyond and how people can get involved.
“Activism takes many forms and even the smallest steps, such as learning about certain forms of gender-based abuse or identifying yourself as an ally can have an enormous impact.”
Zonta Club London President, Anne-Li Stjernholm, said: “As organisations Savera UK and Zonta Club London are very much aligned on our aim to promote a world without violence against women and girls and this partnership is very valuable for us. We hope it will last for many years to come and that we can expand our reach. Speaking with one voice makes our message so much stronger.”
Zonta International and Zonta Foundation for Women President, Sharon Langenbeck, added: “As the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic, instances of gender-based violence are on the rise. Now, more than ever, it is essential that we work together to end violence against women and girls.
“Through the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign, Zonta clubs around the world are uniting to raise their voices to bring awareness to this issue and advocate on behalf of gender-based violence survivors.”
As part of the campaign, civic buildings and iconic landmarks across the Liverpool City Region and beyond will also once again illuminate orange as part of the campaign, to highlight the issue of gender-based violence/abuse and as a symbol of hope for a future without fear of abuse or harassment for women and girls.
Last year, partners in the city region united to illuminate civic buildings and iconic landmarks including Liverpool Town Hall, Cunard Building, St George’s Hall, World Museum in Liverpool, Greystone Footbridge in Knowsley, the Mersey Gateway Bridge in Halton and Merseyside Police Headquarters, while Premier League football team, Everton FC, also lit Goodison Park stadium in solidarity with the campaign.
The Orange the World campaign takes place between Thursday 25th November 2021 and 10th December 2021. To download the toolkit and see how you can get involved, download the PDF from www.saverauk.co.uk/orange-the-world-2021/
From Thursday, 25th November to Friday, 10th December, we’re #SpeakingOut against domestic violence, rape and harassment, as well as hidden harmful practices like ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA), female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.
We want to rally people to take action to ensure our towns, cities and homes are safe spaces where everyone can live without fear of violence, abuse or harassment. There is no excuse for abuse.
Throughout the 16 days, we’ll be using themes to represent ways in which we can all become better activists, and on Day 13 we’re encouraging you to discuss important resources with your community.
To help aid these discussions, Savera UK and Zonta Club London have included a list of great resources you can start with below.
The War on Women by Sue Lloyd-Roberts
This memoir was written by multi-award-winning journalist Sue Lloyd-Roberts, whose career spanned four decades. Each chapter explores the lives of women living in different and the atrocities they face. In the book Sue, who died shortly after writing it, explores Ireland, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, covering topics including FGM and forced marriage.
Savera UK support worker Emma said: “I found it a really useful snapshot into how far women have come but more importantly, the journey many countries and communities need to make. It was very well-written, easy to follow and gave a good brief insight into different ways women are oppressed.”
The Prosecutor by Nazir Afzal
This book by Savera UK patron Nazir Afzal OBE offers readers a look into the workings of the criminal justice system and his experience of prosecuting complex and harrowing cases. Nazir is the former Chief Prosecutor for North West England and an expert in de-radicalisation. He campaigns on issues around child sexual exploitation and gender-based violence. His book is described as a “searing insight into the justice system and a powerful story of one man’s pursuit of the truth”.
On Violence and Violence Against Women by Jacqueline Rose
Another recommendation from Zonta Club London is On Violence and Violence Against Women by Jacqueline Rose which asks ‘Why has violence, and especially gender-based violence become so much more prominent and visible across the world?’ The book tracks the multiple forms of today’s violence – historic and intimate, public and private – as they spread throughout our social fabric, offering a new, provocative account of violence in our time.
See What You Made Me Do by Jess Hill
Dianne from Zonta Club London also recommends picking up this book by investigative journalist Jess Hill, who is seeking to change the question from ‘Why doesn’t she leave?’ to ‘Why does he do it?’ In the book, she unpacks power, control and domestic violence while putting perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse in the spotlight.
Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh
Gypsy Boy is a memoir by Mikey Walsh, who grew up in the culture of Romany Gypsies. This book, recommended by Savera UK support worker Emma, explores gender roles and expectations and ‘honour’-based abuse. It also covers the perception of sexuality being detrimental to one’s ‘honour’.
‘The Community Safety Podcast’ by Jim Nixon
In this podcast host Jim Nixon, a community safety professional and former police officer, interviews various guests and discusses ways in which communities can be made safer. In one episode, recommended by Savera UK support worker Emma, he speaks with Caroline Goode, a former Detective Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police who worked on the investigation into the ‘honour’-killing of Banaz Mahmod.
In the episode, which lasts for one hour and a half, Caroline discusses the police failures in the case and what efforts she personally made to see justice brought.
‘Honour’ ITV Programme
This two-part series portrays the investigation into the murder of Banaz Mahmod, who was the victim of an ‘honour’-killing. Keeley Hawes plays DCI Caroline Goode (mentioned above) and the series offers an insight into the complex nature of ‘honour’ killings. You can watch this on ITV Hub here.
‘A Survivor’s Plea to End Child Marriage’ by Payzee Mahmod
Sister of ‘honour’-killing victim Banaz Mahmod and Savera UK Ambassador, Payzee Mahmod delivers a powerful TED talk in which she explains her own experience of child marriage at the age of just 16.
Payzee details the tragic marriage, which prompted her to self-harm, and her small acts of rebellion in efforts to escape before her divorce at the age of 18, which she underwent while arranging her sister’s funeral.
Unorthodox is a series on Netflix which examines the intricacies of forced marriage and gender roles in the Hasidic Jewish community through the eyes of an Orthodox Jewish woman who flees to start a new life abroad.
Savera UK support worker Emma said: “I think this is very important because it shows HBA in a community that most people wouldn’t affiliate it with so it offers a counter-narrative.
“I find counter-narratives important to prevent prejudice and racist narratives as people often associate HBA with specific cultures when it actually transcends many different communities in different ways.”
‘Empower a girl, transform a community’ by Kakenya Ntaiya
This TED talk sees Kakenya discuss her work empowering vulnerable girls to bring an end to harmful traditional practices in Kenya. You can watch the talk in full here.
‘End Violence against children for a better future for us all’ by Howard Taylor
In this 10 minute TED Talk Howard Taylor discusses the huge numbers of children who experience violence at home, at school, online or in their communities. Taylor talks about why we have an unprecedented opportunity to end this violence and create a better future for every child. Watch the TED talk here.
Works by Jasvinder Sanghera
Both Savera UK and Zonta Club London recommend taking a look at various pieces of work by Jasvinder Sanghera, an ‘honour’-based abuse and forced marriage survivor and campaigner.
The first is Shame, a true story in which Jasvinder, founder of charity Karma Nirvana, explains her experience of ‘honour’-based abuse. When she was fourteen her parents told her she would be married and when she refused they disowned her. This autobiography is the story of what happened after she ran away from home to escape from a world where ‘honour’ was paramount.
Savera UK support worker Emma said: “It’s interesting because the perpetrator is her mother so it offers a narrative that many people wouldn’t expect.”
Dianne Jeans from Zonta Club London also recommends Jasvinder’s works Daughters of Shame and Shame Travels. Jasvinder’s charity, Karma Nirvana, works to fight HBA and has helped establish refuge centres for South Asian men and women fleeing forced marriages. To learn more about the work Jasvinder does you can watch her TED Talk on “Fighting forced marriages and ‘honour’-based abuse” by clicking here.
We would love to hear the resources you have come across, send them to @SaveraUK on social media and we may include them here.