Tag: ‘honour’-based violence

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. 

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.

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/

Help us fund safe therapies

Help survivors of ‘honour-based abuse access safe therapies

Help us fund safe therapies
Help us fund safe therapies for Savera UK clients

At Savera UK we are committed to ensuring we provide the best possible support to survivors of ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA), forced marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM) and other harmful practices.

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.

Donate to the fundraiser here: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/saverauk01

Please note, this fundraiser closes on 15th December

Banaz Mahmod

Reported 81% rise in ‘honour’-based abuse offences is ‘tip of the iceberg’, says Savera UK CEO

Last week, The Guardian reported an 81 percent increase in ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) offences in the last five years.

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.

Banaz Mahmod
Banaz Mahmod was the victim of a so-called ‘honour’ killing in 2006

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 the organisations 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.”

Orange The World Toolkit

Savera UK and Zonta Club London Launch “Orange the World 2021” Toolkit

Orange The World Toolkit

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/