Tag: ‘honour’-based abuse

Ambreen Fatima Sheikh: Silenced by family “unsatisfied” by her housework

On Wednesday 14th February 2024 a man and his family were jailed at Leeds Crown Court after his wife, Ambreen Fatima Sheikh, 39, was ‘forced or tricked’ into taking anti-diabetes medication and doused in a corrosive substance leaving her in a vegetative state from which she has no prospect of recovery.

Ambreen was brought to the UK from Pakistan in 2014, at the age of 29, after her marriage to Asgar Sheikh which took place in her home country. 

After arriving at the Sheikh family’s Huddersfield home, the court was told that Ambreen did not leave the house often, and almost never unsupervised. She did not speak much English, have an independent income, or friends or family who lived in the UK.

The court also heard that the family was unsatisfied with her work in the house, and Khalid Sheikh had suggested she should be sent back to Pakistan.

Concerns were raised about her wellbeing in July 2015 when extended family members visited and were told Ambreen was not in or was not able to see them. They reported their concerns to police and a welfare check was carried out. 

Police concluded at the time that: “Ambreen appeared to be well.”

However, the judge said in court: “She spoke little English and no real conversation took place and her father-in-law was outside the door. I find she wouldn’t have been able to express any concerns she had.”

Savera UK CEO and founder, Afrah Qassim, said: “We recognise this case as one that is clearly underpinned by ‘honour’ and a vibrant young woman not meeting the expected ‘norms’ of her husband and in-laws.

“I have read media reports saying that Ambreen’s ‘fate was sealed’ when she was ‘promised’ to the Sheikh family. However, I do not believe that Ambreen’s fate was sealed by her marriage. Her story was completely avoidable. 

“Her life has been snatched away not just by the abuse from her husband and in-laws, but also through opportunities missed by police to help her. 

“When concerns were raised, their welfare check took place in the Sheikh family home, with her father-in-law outside. She spoke little English. How could she possibly be able to express her worries and concerns safely?

“This case – like that of Raneem Oudeh and Khaola Saleem – continues to highlight a shocking lack of knowledge amongst police forces about the issue of ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA), recognising it and responding appropriately.

“There is often only one chance to help someone at risk of HBA, which is why we always advocate for the One Chance Rule. In Ambreen’s case this chance was tragically missed.

“In cases such as Ambreen’s, police and professionals should ensure that independent interpreters are present, and that the check takes place outside the family home and away from other family and community members, and everything possible should be done to keep the individual safe.

“Remembering the simple rules laid out in the One Chance Rule can save lives and protect people from harm. How many more people like Raneem, Khaola and Ambreen do we need to see let down by the systems that should protect them, before the issue of HBA and harmful practices is given the attention and resources that it desperately needs?”

Khalid, Asgar, Shagufa and Shabnam Sheikh were found guilty of causing or allowing a vulnerable adult to suffer serious physical harm, a sentence which carried a maximum tariff of 10 years, but has since been increased to 14 years.

Shagufa, Shabnam and Asgar Sheikh were also found guilty of an act intending to pervert the course of justice. All five defendants were found guilt of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Her husband Asgar Sheikh, 31, and his parents Khalid Sheikh, 55, and Shabnam Sheikh, 53, were jailed for seven years and nine months. Asgar Sheikh’s brother, Sakalayne Sheikh, 25, was given a six-month sentence, suspended for two years, and his sister, Shagufa Sheikh, 29, was given an 18-month sentence, also suspended for two years.

Afrah continued: “While we are pleased that Ambreen’s abusers have been brought to justice, seven years is not sufficient for what she suffered. In Pakistan she was a teacher and in good health. She was described by those who knew her as ‘intelligent, bright and ambitious and someone who would light up the room’ – she should now be living a full, safe and happy life.

“After being poisoned, doctors expected Ambreen to die, but she started breathing on her own. She was a woman with dreams and ambitions that she should be fulfilling today, someone who wanted to live, instead of lying unconscious. Our thoughts are with Ambreen and those who love her and hope that the sentencing brings some peace.”

Image credit: West Yorkshire Police

The cover of Savera UK's Impact Report which reads 'Our Impact'

Savera UK launches Impact Report 2022/23

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.

Read the Impact Report here. 

Savera UK Volunteers Macy and Krinal

Meet Savera UK Volunteers Macy and Krinal

This Volunteers Week, Savera UK is highlighting the generosity of those who give up their free time to join the organisation in working towards its mission of ending ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) and harmful practices.

We spoke to Savera UK volunteers Macy and Krinal to discuss their experience at the charity and what they enjoy about volunteering.

Hi! Please tell us a bit about you.

Hi, I am Krinal! I am a MSc Investigative & Forensic Psychology student at University of Liverpool. I enjoy watching true crime documentaries and shows and it’s almost a year since I have moved to Liverpool from India.

Hi, I’m Macy, I have a first class degree in Forensic Psychology which I did at Leeds University. I also have experience in research, collecting data and report writing and aspire for a career in mental health. I am currently working in the food & hospitality industry.

Why did you choose to volunteer for Savera UK?

Krinal: As someone who comes from a culture and country that has witnessed a lot of cases of ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA), the work that Savera UK does resonated with me. It does such good work to help those who are facing HBA, which most people are unaware of or do not know how to help. I wanted to contribute and help empower those at risk in the safe space they are provided at Savera UK.

Macy: I chose to volunteer at Savera UK because I am passionate about supporting human rights, particularly women’s rights. As Savera UK safeguards and advocates on behalf of many women of colour I thought this would be very fitting for me. I also wanted to get some experience working in a setting that helps people with their mental health.

How long have you been a volunteer with the organisation, and how often do you volunteer?

Krinal: I have been volunteering for two to three weeks at Savera UK now and I volunteer once a week three to four hours.

Macy: I have been a volunteer for just over a month and I volunteer for a couple of hours a week, usually on a Friday.

What does your role involve?

Krinal: My role mainly involves supporting clients with recreational activities or learning activities that they are interested in to help support their interests. It also involves supervised training for interventions with survivors of HBA.

Macy: I assist in running client led sessions. We do fun activities such as go to the park, go to the museum, dance classes and watching films. I also help keep the client spaces tidy and bring the clients refreshments.

What has been the best part about volunteering with Savera UK so far?

Krinal: I think it is seeing clients be so happy and feeling a sense of happiness myself. Plus, Savera UK staff are probably the best colleagues I could have asked for. They are all so supportive and welcoming – you feel like it is a second home.

Macy: I feel I have made really positive relationships with some of the clients and I really enjoy the sessions.

What have you learnt since becoming a volunteer for Savera UK?

Krinal: I have a long way to go before I am truly well-versed in helping and intervening with survivors, but I think it is how I am more sensitive and attuned to how to behave and converse with them that does not involve sympathy but just care. I have also learned about supervising the activities.

Macy: I have learned a lot about harmful practices and ‘honour’-based abuse. I have also learned about different cultural practices including food and religious celebrations.

Do you think others should apply to volunteer with Savera UK?

Krinal: Yes. Anyone who is interested in helping end ‘honour’-based abuse or even just helping those at risk receive support should apply to volunteer with Savera UK because their work is meaningful, and it impacts so many women’s lives. It is an enriching experience.

Macy: I definitely think others should apply to volunteer for Savera UK because I feel I am gaining a lot of experience and it is a really rewarding role, especially after a good session with the clients. All the staff are really friendly and it is a great environment to be in.

Thank you Macy and Krinal, we’re so pleased to have you as part of the team! Are you interested in becoming a volunteer at Savera UK? Apply to become a volunteer here.

Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight: Fortune, Social Work Student

At Savera UK, students are regularly welcomed as part of university placements. Here they learn about the work the team is doing to end ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) and harmful practices and how the organisation operates.

Between February and May we were joined by Fortune, who is studying a Masters in Social Work at Liverpool Hope University. Read about her experience with us below!

Hi Fortune! How did you first hear about Savera UK?

The university introduced me to Savera UK for placement, best thing ever!

What has your day-to-day role been like?

My daily routine included working directly with Savera UK clients, who are at risk of HBA and harmful practices. This involved advocating for them and checking on their emotional and welfare needs, making sure that needs were met on time. I would refer and signpost clients to other relevant organisations where necessary and share information with other professionals to find the best solutions for clients’ specific needs, and to reduce risks caused by HBA and harmful practices.

Of all your tasks, which has been your favourite?

Advocating for clients and meeting their emotional needs has been the most exciting task for me. It gave me joy and satisfaction to know that I have been positively impacting people’s lives and making a difference. This has helped me to promote social justice, anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory practices that liberate people from all forms of abuse and give them independence and safety in life.

What were some of the more challenging aspects of the role?

Dealing with people from diverse backgrounds requires highly sophisticated communication and interpersonal skills. This is because each client has a different set of needs that requires a unique problem-solving approach. There is no universal mechanism to solve people’s problems, there is need to come up with person-centred specific solutions to solve these problems. This challenges the support worker to think outside the box and apply different theories and methods to help the people in need.

What can be done to help with those difficulties?

Savera UK has made and is on a mission to continue make a huge impact in people’s lives. What the organisation has done and is still doing can never be taken for granted, so it is recommended that the organisation keeps on doing the amazing work.

What has been aspect of the role that has surprised you the most?

I was surprised with the fact that Savera UK is just an amazing team of very humble and professional people. The treatment I got made me feel welcomed, warm and that I was part of an amazing family. They valued my contributions, ideas and also trusted my ability to hold cases and offer a 1-1 service to clients. The team is amazing, full of people with positive energy and love. I have never found myself struggling because everyone was ready to guide, assist, review and help me in the most amazing ways.

Did your placement at Savera UK live up to the expectations you had before starting?

To say expectations were met is an understatement; I have been equipped for Social Work practice, I have gained sophisticated knowledge and skills on how to work with clients from diverse backgrounds. I have been exposed to the most challenging and yet exciting Social Work experiences. I am very proud of the Savera UK team because they focus on the core aspects of diversity, social justice, anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory practices.

What will be your main takeaway following your placement with us?

Everything, just everything I have been exposed to for the past 70 days; multi-agency working, professionalism, empathy, dealing with diversity, understanding the needs of the clients and carrying out risk assessments, all forms of HBA and harmful practices. I have gained unquestionable skills and experience during this placement and that will help shape my future practice.

What do you think is the biggest challenge for charities supporting those at risk of harmful practices?

The biggest challenge for charities in offering advocacy and emotional support to those at the risk of harmful practices is that in most cases these harmful practices are embedded in long-standing and ancient cultural practices, which many people and communities have accepted to be part of their daily norms. It requires more effort and resources to educate the people on how these practices are an infringement to human rights and how important it is for people to abandon such practices and liberate themselves or their loved ones. Another challenge is that it may be difficult for other professionals or agencies to fully accept or recognise the work of the charities that help those at the risk of harmful practices. Sometimes there is lack of understanding of these harmful practices and how detrimental are to those at risk.

How can this be overcome?

We must continue to educate the communities and individuals about how harmful some cultural practices can be while carrying out aggressive awareness campaigns into schools and communities so that most people are equipped with the appropriate knowledge on how to tackle such problems should they face them. There is need to seriously keep on engaging with other professionals and agencies to make sure that information sharing is prioritised and there are clear communication lines on what exactly needs to be done by all.

What are your plans for the future?

My plan for the future is to continue with Social Work practice and to continue to safeguard and advocate for those at risk of, and survivors of, HBA and harmful practices.

What did you enjoy the most about your time at Savera UK?

I have enjoyed every bit of it. I have loved working with humble, professional and supportive people. They have made my 70 days ecstatic and short. I could not ask for anything more, the team is amazing and very rich in knowledge of HBA and harmful practices. They know what needs to be done, when and how.  Thank you very much Savera UK, for your warmth and support, you have equipped me with professional knowledge no one can take away for me. I am very proud of and have so much respect for you. Wishing you great exploits all the time!

Cheshire PCC Partnership

Savera UK extends service with funding from Cheshire PCC

Savera UK has been awarded funding from Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer, to extend its service into the region and to help end ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) and harmful practices in Cheshire.

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.”

To learn about ‘honour’-based abuse and harmful practices, visit the Savera UK Learning Hub. 

If you are at risk, or if you are a professional in need of advice, you can call Savera UK’s specialist helpline on 0800 107 0726 (operates 10am – 4pm). Always call 999 if you are in immediate danger.

Referral forms for individuals and professionals are available here.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Blackburne House delivers trauma therapy workshops to Savera UK clients

This Mental Health Awareness Week, Savera UK is highlighting the impact ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) and harmful practices can have on mental health. Often Savera UK clients experience trauma as a result of ongoing abuse, which can manifest in different ways.

As the result of a new partnership with Blackburne House, Savera UK is able to offer clients trauma therapy workshops. During the sessions, conducted over a 10 week period, clients learn about their trauma, understand its physical manifestations and practice methods of managing it.

Fiona, Lead Counsellor, explains because of the impact trauma can have on the body, much of the work they’re doing is physical.

She said: “It’s about feeling safer inside yourself. Trauma recovery works in stages. It’s very practical things we’re doing, like noticing muscle tension. All the work is physical, somatic work to give you the feeling of being in control and making your own choices. These exercises help develop different neural pathways.

“Our job is to provide the knowledge and skills so clients can go away and experiment and begin to notice ‘What does my body feel?’ ‘How is my breathing?’, ‘Am I in a state of distress?’. If you are, it’s key to notice it and interrupt it.”

Clare, a counsellor also leading the sessions, said: “We’re stimulating the nervous system into a chilled, relaxed state.”

Two sessions in with Savera UK clients, Fiona says they have already been laughing and “seem to be enjoying it”. Clare added: “When they’re all laughing they are making connections with each other, and it’s some of those things we don’t always appreciate.”

Fiona explains trauma is “grounded in neuroscience”. She said: “When you’re in trauma or distress you spend a lot of time in your body feeling panicky, you might not be sleeping or looking after yourself. This impacts your mental health, your decision making – it affects everything.”

Clare said: “By moving, doing something to the spinal cord and breath you’re activating the vagus nerve that shuts down when experiencing trauma.”

Because the threat of HBA and harmful practices can be lifelong, survivors may experience ongoing trauma over a long period of time, which can have different effects depending on if a person has been able to process it at the time, and can impact recovery.

Fiona said: “It’s about your history, so if you’ve had an adverse childhood experience as well as trauma as an adult it’s more complex. Different things happening over a period of time can also result in complex PTSD.”

The knowledge taken away from the sessions aren’t just helpful for clients, Fiona added, explaining “they can go home and teach their kids how to self-regulate”, “passing on these facts can be really important for kids”.

As well as the trauma therapy workshops, yoga teacher Nu from Blackburne House will be delivering trauma informed yoga sessions, which will help ease muscle tension and encourage reconnecting with the body in a calm state.

Thank you Fiona and Clare, we look forward to catching up with you both as your sessions progress!

If you are at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse and harmful practices, you can contact Savera UK’s helpline on 0800 107 0726.

Image credit: Lush

Savera UK Supports Call for Ban on LGBT+ Conversion ‘Therapy’

Image credit: Lush
Window of Lush in Liverpool highlighting the ‘Have a Heart’ campaign (Image credit: Lush)

LGBT+ anti-abuse charity Galop and cosmetics company Lush recently teamed up to share the stories of survivors of conversion ‘therapy’ and urge people to write to their MP to call for an immediate and inclusive ban on all of these practices.

Savera UK believes in the majority of cases conversion ‘therapy’ or practices are forms of ‘honour’-based abuse – ‘punishments’ or ‘cures’ inflicted on an individual whose sexuality or gender identity is against the cultural, social or religious ‘norms’ of a family or community. ALL of these practices, without exclusion, are abuse and a violation of human rights.

The powerful animation for the ‘Have a Heart’ campaign launched ahead of Valentine’s Day and told the stories of survivors Joe, Alex and Grace. The video highlights many elements of conversion practices that correlate to characteristics of ‘honour’-based abuse, for example how they are often committed by family behind closed doors. 

In Alex’s story, their father said they would be ‘better dead than non-binary’, misgendered them and destroyed clothes that he thought were too masculine. Grace, who is lesbian, was threatened with being kicked out of her home if she didn’t go on dates with men much older than her. Joe’s family monitored his finances, clothing, communications and everyday movements. All of these actions are abuse.

Image credit: Lush

Within Joe’s story we also learn that despite asking police for help he was returned to his family home time and again and the abuse continued. This is often seen in cases of ‘honour’-based abuse, where there is a lack of awareness or understanding about abuse of this nature, or where cultural sensitivity causes a fear of challenging abuse.

Galop’s recent research with YouGov shows that nearly 1 in 5 (18%) of LGBT+ people in the UK have been subjected to someone trying to change, ‘cure’ or suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity, highlighting the scale of the issue in the UK.


Afrah Qassim, CEO and Founder of Savera UK, said: “This campaign is an incredibly powerful illustration of the threat of conversion ‘therapy’ to LGBTQ+ people in the UK and why action needs to be taken to ban it completely now. 

“It also clearly highlights how ‘honour’-based abuse can happen anywhere and to anyone – not just in certain communities. Greater understanding around the many ways in which ‘honour’-based abuse presents is needed both among professionals and the general public. 

“As with all forms of ‘honour’-based abuse and other harmful practices, when a person makes a disclosure about being subjected to or at risk of conversion ‘therapy’ or practices, the One Chance Rule should be followed, as that may be the only chase we have to help that person.

“Savera UK supports all people at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse and harmful practices, including conversion ‘therapy’, regardless of ethnicity, culture, religion, disability, age, gender or sexuality. We join with Lush, Galop and all those calling for an immediate and fully inclusive ban of conversion ‘therapy’ and practices, which protects all LGBTQ+ people from harm.”

To watch the video and write to your MP and join the call for the ban, visit: weare.lush.com/have-a-heart-campaign/

International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, 2023

International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM 2023

The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is just one week away, taking place annually on 6th February.

FGM is the removal or injury of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is estimated that 200 million women and girls have been subjected to this practice globally.*

First launched in 2003, the day is an United Nations-sponsored awareness day that takes place as part of the UN’s efforts to eradicate FGM.

FGM is just one harmful practice that Savera UK works to end, here in the UK and around the world.

If you would like to learn more about FGM and how you can help to stop it, join Savera UK in supporting the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM. 

Please read, watch and share the resources below and tag @SaveraUK and use #EndFGM if you are sharing on socials.

READ: FGM Factsheet information on female genital mutilation

READ: Harmful Practices Factsheet – wider information on harmful practices

WATCH: One Chance Rule Video – if someone makes a disclosure that they are at risk of FGM or other harmful practices, or you believe they are at risk, there may only be one chance to help them. This video explains what you need to do

WATCH: Savera UK Youth “Orange Brick Road” Video – An overview of harmful practices, including FGM, for young people. This video was created by Savera UK Youth. Educational resources for schools and youth groups are available to facilitate discussion around the topics

WATCH: Savera UK FGM Support: How We Can Help Video – Information on what support Savera UK can provide to those at risk of, or survivors of, FGM

*Source: UNICEF, https://www.unicef.org/protection/female-genital-mutilation

Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, speaking during the Women's Equality Committee discussion on 'honour'-based abuse

Women’s Equality Committee discusses ‘honour’-based abuse

Last week, the Women’s Equality Committee opened a discussion relating to ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA)

During the event, which took place on Wednesday, 11th January, evidence was heard from Detective Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police and National Police Chief’s Council Lead for HBA, Ivan Balhatchet, Crown Prosecution Service National Lead for HBA, Jaswant Narwal, Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, Ministry of Justice Minister for State for Victims and Sentencing, Edward Argar MP and Home Office Minister for Safeguarding, Sarah Dines MP.  

Topics raised during the discussion included gaps in HBA training among professionals, barriers facing those at risk when accessing support, challenges in prosecuting cases and in safeguarding and advocacy work. 

Prior to the discussion, Savera UK submitted evidence to the committee detailing specific difficulties those at risk face, and what actions are necessary in order to work towards a world without HBA and harmful practices. Savera UK emphasised the necessity for a commitment to regular, ongoing training of professionals, a universal definition of HBA referred to by all agencies, sole and dedicated focus to HBA in legislation and the effective implementation of any Governmental and Local Authority strategies supported by the necessary funding and resources. 

Savera UK also highlighted the need for one centralised database to collect information relating to HBA, including data on survivors, perpetrators and offences. This is integral to reaching and supporting those at risk, as only with a greater understanding of the true scale of the problem are we able to effectively target those at risk and deliver safeguarding and advocacy support. 

Many of these points were also raised by witnesses during the discussion. DCC Ivan Balhatchet emphasised there are currently gaps and inconsistencies relating to training, which is further exacerbated by cases of HBA being “extremely challenging and difficult to identify the risks upfront”. He stressed the need for a risk assessment tool, which would enable police to quickly identify the escalating risk of HBA in a situation. 

Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, speaking during the Women's Equality Committee discussion on 'honour'-based abuse
Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, speaking during the Women’s Equality Committee discussion on ‘honour’-based abuse. Image credit: Parliamentlive.tv

Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, called for greater resource and funding for specialist third sector organisations tackling HBA. She said: “I really appreciate now more than ever, especially with the mapping evidence that shows how effective these services are particularly and how vulnerable they are in terms of funding.” She added: “We need to have a much more strategic approach to ‘by and for’ services in general.” 

Following the discussion, Afrah Qassim, Founder and CEO of Savera UK, said: “Savera UK thanks the Women’s Equality Committee for creating a space to focus on the incredibly important topic of ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA), and for inviting evidence from specialists in this field, including our own team. 

“While it’s important to have these discussions in a public forum, we hope it will be followed with action on the important points raised, particularly around the development of a definition of HBA, the creation of a centralised database and implementation of mandatory ongoing training for professionals. 

“HBA can only be eliminated through a multi-pronged approach which requires efforts from all levels, including policy change in Government. While third sector organisations, like Savera UK, continue to deliver effective safeguarding and advocacy and campaign for greater awareness, it’s only with the backing of policy-makers that effective change can take place. 

“In addition, we echo Nicole Jacobs’ call for greater funding and resources to be invested in frontline organisations. Savera UK is dedicated to safeguarding those at risk while tackling the causes of HBA by working within communities and lobbying for policy and legislature change, but we need the support and funding of Government and Local Authorities in order to do so.” 

You can watch the Women’s Equality Committee discussion on HBA in full here and read the responses to the call for evidence, including the one submitted by Savera UK, here.