Government plan on violence against women and girls: OUR VERDICT

11Mar11

In January IKWRO asked our supporters to write to the Home Secretary and ask her to get tough on ‘honour’ based violence.  Many of you sent emails to Teresa may asking her to increase government efforts to tackle ‘honour’ based violence and to commit to providing training for all public sector workers.

That was six weeks ago.  On Tuesday you may have spotted IKWRO’s Diana Nammi in the Guardian, talking about the government’s new action plan which was released to coincide with International Women’s Day.  The Guardian article, by Rachel Williams, was titled ‘Honour’ killings plan does not go far enough.  But why not?

The action plan sets out what the government will do over the next four years in order to tackle violence against women and girls.  As far as ‘honour’ based violence goes, it commits to just three actions: 

  1. Work on the development of learning programmes for the Police on ‘honour’ based violence. 
  2. Continue training for specialist and dedicated prosecutors in ‘honour’ based violence.
  3. Identify models of effective practice to share with local areas, particularly those where awareness and activity to tackle ‘honour’ based violence is low.

While these commitments are all going in the right direction, the first two are not even new.  In 2008 the Association of Chief Police Officers also promised training.  Last year they finally began to develop a training programme but so far it hasn’t been rolled out.  The UK also already has specialist ‘honour’ based violence prosecutors who play an important role in ensuring that victims have access to justice through the courts.  Good, but again, nothing new. 

What’s more, training is also needed for other professionals such as social workers, teachers, health workers and housing officers.  Information sharing may help to tackle low awareness and improve the response to HBV, but so far it is unclear how information will be shared and whether there will be any monitoring to identify if local areas have used it to improve their work.

IKWRO believes that what is really needed is a national, cross government ‘honour’ based violence strategy which sets out what changes the government want to bring about, ways they will do this and how they will measure progress.  IKWRO will continue to campaign for stronger government leadership in this area through our UNITED against ‘honour’ based violence campaign.

Our blog has now moved onto our main website.  Check it out here, and find IKWRO on twitter and facebook

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