Police and Crime Commissioner to battle 'honour'-based crimes
PUBLISHED: 12:00 18 December 2017
Copyright: Freia Turland
A police official has taken on the task of tackling 'honour' crimes and to speak up for the victims.
Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens will represent other PCCs from across the nation on honour-based abuse, forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM).
Throughout her time in the elected role, Ms Mountstevenes has been a fierce advocate for survivors of these crimes and was asked to submit evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee for its FGM: The Case For A National Action Plan.
She will now continue to expand on her work by focusing on so-called ‘honour’-based crimes.
This type of abuse is described as any practice used to control behaviour within families to protect a cultural or religious belief and is considered a breach of someone’s human rights.
Between 2010 and 2016 there were 419 reports of such abuse across Avon and Somerset, which does not include unreported incidents dealt with by partner organisations.
Ms Mountstevens will be working with a board, chaired by MP Sarah Newton, the Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, and with victims to learn about the challenges people face when seeking help and to shine a light on this hidden crime.
She will also be working closely with national partners on the strategy to ensure freedom of choice is protected.
She added: “This abuse and forced marriage is a particularly difficult crime to tackle as it tends to happen behind closed doors and victims are terrified of coming forward.
“Victims often worry about what will happen to their family if they disclose the abuse they are suffering and many do not want to see their families prosecuted.
“If you are or have been a victim of forced marriage or so called ‘honour’-based abuse, I want you to know there are people to talk to and who can help.
“You can access this support regardless of whether or not you choose to report your experience to the police. All I ask is please do not wait until your life is in danger to get help.”
If you feel you are at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse and you would like to speak to the police, call 999 if you are in immediate danger or 101 to talk to someone. You can also report the crime online at www.avonandsomerset.police.uk