Wolverhampton will be joining a national day of remembrance for victims of honour based violence next week.

A vigil will be held on Friday 14 July, on what would have been the 31st birthday of Shafilea Ahmed, who was brutally murdered by her parents in a so called "honour killing".

Honour based violence is a form of domestic abuse and refers to a collection of controlling behaviours including physical violence, motivated by a perceived need to maintain, or restore family honour.

Statistics show that there were 7,000 recorded incidents of honour based violence in the UK between January 2011 and August 2016. However, this actual number of cases is likely to be much higher.

Karma Nirvana, a charity supporting victims of honour based violence, receive around 700 calls each month to their helpline and last year, 63 individuals and professionals in Wolverhampton contacted the helpline to seek help and advice with forced marriage and honour based violence issues. 

Wolverhampton Domestic Violence Forum, with the support of Women of Wolverhampton and other charities across the City, is holding the 30 minute vigil in support of the memorial day on 14 July.

It will begin at the statue of Prince Albert in Queen Square at 12pm, with a walk to the statue of Lady Wulfruna at St Peter's Square where a short ceremony will be held.

Amanda Bevan, Women of Wolverhampton coordinator, said: "Honour based violence is hidden within families and communities. It can take many forms of abusive behaviour and is under reported in Wolverhampton.

"We want to make everyone in the city aware of honour based violence to encourage more reports to be made so that action can be taken to stop the abuse and to support victims."

Wolverhampton Domestic Violence Forum's multi agency Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy includes steps to tackle honour based violence, along with other issues including domestic and sexual violence, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, added: "Let's be very clear - there is no 'honour' in honour based violence, and the council and its partners are determined to end it in all its forms.

"I hope as many people as possible will join us at this vigil to remember Shafilea Ahmed and all the other victims of honour-based violence, and show that we, as a City, say no to this abhorrent crime."

For further information about next week's vigil, please contact pippa.thomas@wolverhampton.gov.uk.  

Anyone who has either been the victim of honour-based violence, or who fears someone may be at risk, should contact the Karma Nirvana UK helpline on 0800 599 9247, the Haven Wolverhampton on 01902 904677 or Wolverhampton Domestic Violence Forum on 01902 555643. In an emergency, always dial 999.

Shafilea Ahmed was killed by her parents in 2003. Having refused an arranged marriage, her parents believed she had brought shame upon the family.

  • released: Friday 7 July, 2017