Professionals from a wide range of agencies across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland will join members of the community at the Shama Women’s Centre this Friday (14 July) to mark the third National Day of Remembrance for Victims of so called honour based violence. This date was chosen as it marks the birthday of Shafilea Ahmed, who was murdered by her parents in an honour based killing in 2003.
Members of the community will be invited to light a candle in memory of all those affected by forced marriage and honour based violence.
Representatives from a number of different local organisations, including Zinthiya Trust, United Against Violence & Abuse (UAVA), Victim First, and the Leicester Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), will be available to talk about the services that they provide.
The event aims to help people to identify potential victims and perpetrators and get help to tackle the problem. It is hoped that raising awareness of the issues among the community will give victims the confidence to come forward.
Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan, founder of the Zinthiya Trust, a Leicester based charity that offers support to women and families from disadvantaged backgrounds, said: “Honour based violence has a major impact on many women living in our city and we need to build awareness of this among our communities. The day of memory is an excellent opportunity not only to remember those who lost their lives to violence but also to remember the many who suffer in silence”.
Detective Chief Inspector Jonny Starbuck of Leicestershire Police said: “Forced marriage and honour based violence are appalling crimes that can have tragic consequences for their victims. Everyone has the right to freedom of choice and to use the law to protect them from those who seek to abuse that freedom. These crimes will absolutely not be tolerated in Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland.
“Men, women and children can all be victims of forced marriage and honour based violence, which is often hidden from view within families and communities.
“We are committed to raising awareness of this type of abuse and seek to educate our communities on the support that is available while reducing isolation”.
Cllr Manjula Sood MBE, Assistant City Mayor, Communities & Equalities, said: “I am very happy to support this Day of Memory event which is a reminder to us all that we need to continue to help and understand people affected by domestic violence and abuse.
“I also wish to commend the organisers Zinthiya Trust and the Shama Women’s Centre for their commitment and valuable work in our communities”.
Suki Kaur of UAVA, who support victims of domestic abuse or sexual violence, said: “We hope this day we remember all those that have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of so called honour based violence. We urge those that are affected to tell someone they trust and access the support in place. It is also important that families and friends that know of people affected also come forward.”
Cllr Abdul Osman, Assistant City Mayor and lead member for Community Safety at Leicester City Council, said: “We know there are people locally suffering from this type of violence and abuse, often from multiple perpetrators, and under a huge amount of pressure and fear. We want people to know that they can talk to local services in confidence and find sources of support and hope”.
The event will run between 11am and 2pm on Friday at the Shama Women’s Centre, 39-45 Sparkenhoe Street, Leicester, LE2 0TD.
If you are at risk of honour based abuse, or suspect that someone you know is, call Leicestershire Police on 101. If it is an emergency and you or someone else is in immediate danger, you should call 999.
You can also report an offence, or suspected offence, in confidence and anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Source:: Leicestershire Police News