Survivors of ‘honour’ based abuse (HBA) were invited by our friends at Karma Nirvana to share oral evidence, in the form of lived experiences, with the Women and Equalities Committee as part of their inquiry.
The Women and Equalities Committee is conducting an inquiry to better understand the nature and prevalence of abuse committed in the name of protecting or defending so-called “honour” of an individual, family, or community.
The inquiry has now included three formal evidence sessions. During the first session, the committee heard from experts with a background in researching honour-based abuse, as well as specialist organisations providing frontline support to survivors. This session is available for viewing at Parliamentlive.tv – Women and Equalities Committee.
In the second session, the committee heard from the honour-based abuse leads from the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Crown Prosecution Service, as well as the Domestic Abuse Commissioner. This session is also available for viewing at Parliamentlive.tv – Women and Equalities Committee.
Today’s session with members of the Karma Nirvana’s Survivor Ambassador Panel, of which Naz and Matt Foundation are members, aimed explore the barriers faced by survivors when seeking support; to explore the police response for survivors and if there are improvements which could be made; and identify what more the Government and other decision makers could do to help survivors in the short- and long-term.
In this session survivors of HBA shared their lived experiences as evidence, and the response received from the police. We also discussed how education in schools needs to change to create more awareness around so called ‘honour’ based abuse.
What is Honour Based Abuse (HBA)?
Honour-based abuse (HBA) is a form of violence that is committed to protect or defend the supposed reputation or “honour” of a family or community, often rooted in cultural and religious beliefs. HBA can be connected to religious and cultural homophobia, which is the fear and hatred of LGBTQ+ individuals based on cultural and religious beliefs.
In many communities, LGBTQ+ individuals are viewed as bringing shame and dishonour to their families, and the fear of this shame can lead to violence and abuse. This can take many forms, including forced marriage, physical and emotional abuse, coercive control, and even murder. HBA victims may feel trapped by a sense of duty and obligation to their family and community, and this can be compounded by the fear of being ostracised or rejected for their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is crucial to raise awareness and take action to prevent and respond to both HBA and religious and cultural homophobia.
What is the Women and Equalities Committee?
The Women and Equalities Committee is a group of MPs (Members of Parliament) who examine the work of the Government Equalities Office (GEO). It makes sure the Government is following equality law and policy.
The MPs on the committee are not part of the Government.
During their inquiries, the MPs will hear from a range of organisations and individuals. The information the committee gathers is used to make suggestions to Government about how things can be improved. The Government does not have to make the changes the Committee suggests, but if it does not, it must explain why not.
The committee has 11 Members, who are MPs from the Conservative Party, Labour Party and Scottish National Party.
About Karma Nirvana
Karma Nirvana is a UK-based charity organisation that was founded in 1993 by Jasvinder Sanghera, a survivor of forced marriage and honour based abuse. The organisation provides support, advocacy, and education to individuals who are affected by forced marriage and honour based abuse, including victims, survivors, and professionals who work with them.
Karma Nirvana operates a national helpline that provides confidential and culturally sensitive support and advice to those in need. They also offer training and workshops for professionals, community groups, and schools to raise awareness and understanding of the issues surrounding forced marriage and honour based abuse.
In addition, Karma Nirvana works to influence policy and practice at the national and international levels to ensure that the needs and rights of those affected by these issues are recognised and addressed.
We’d like to thank Karma Nirvana for this opportunity.