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14 July 2022: National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Honour-Based Abuse and Forced Marriage | Sandwell Council

14 July 2022: National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Honour-Based Abuse and Forced Marriage

Published 14th July 2022

Sandwell will today (14 July) observe the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Honour-Based Abuse and Forced Marriage.

The date is inspired in memory of Shafilea Ahmed, whose birthday would have been on 14 July. Shafilea was murdered by her parents in an ‘honour killing’ in September 2003.

The annual Day of Memory remembers both women and men affected by honour-based abuse. 

The term honour-based abuse refers to controlling behaviour, including physical violence and abuse motivated by a perceived need to maintain, or restore, family honour.

Those bringing ‘dishonour’ to their family and community can experience emotional abuse, physical abuse, family disownment and forced marriage, where they could face physical and emotional pressure to marry against their will, and in some cases, murder.

There are an estimated 12 honour killings each year in the UK. The exact number is unknown but there have been over 7,000 recorded incidents.

Women are predominantly, but not exclusively, the victims. Men can also be victims, sometimes because of their involvement in what some deem to be an inappropriate relationship, for example if they are gay or if they are believed to be supporting a victim.

So-called honour-based abuse is hidden within families and communities. It can take many forms of abusive behaviour and is sadly under-reported.

Councillor Danny Millard, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “Forced marriage and ‘honour-based’ abuse are not cultural traditions. They are an abuse of human rights.

“If you or someone you know is being forced into a marriage or experiencing ‘honour’-based abuse, Sandwell Council and our partners can help and advise you.”

Anyone who is suffering this abuse should report it to the police on 101 or, in an emergency, always call 999.

People can seek specialist support from Black Country Women’s Aid on 0121 552 6448, which is available 24 hours a day, or text/WhatsApp on 07384 466 181 (9am-9pm Monday-Friday). Find out more about speaking to an adviser (the text takes you to a web link). Black Country Women’s Aid supports female and male victims of forced marriage and honour-based abuse.

People concerned about a child who may be a victim of forced marriage or honour-based abuse should contact Sandwell Children’s Trust on 0121 569 3100.

Those concerned about an adult with care and support needs should contact Adult Social Care on 0121 569 2266.

Alternatively, Ask Marc is a service for men and boys who have experienced domestic abuse, rape and sexual abuse. Contact Ask Marc by phone (0121 289 6402), email info@askmarc.co.uk

Find out more information at Ask Marc (the text takes you to a web link).

Birmingham LGBT Centre can also provide a range of support services for LGBT victims. Find out more about Birmingham LGBT Centre (the text takes you to a web link).

Find out more information about help and support in Sandwell for domestic abuse concerns (the text takes you to a web link).