IMPORTANT UPDATE: COVID-19

At the end of this month, ITV’s new two part factual drama ‘Honour’ is set to air. The programme shows the real-life investigation into the ‘honour’ killing of a young woman in London, Banaz Mahmod by her family in 2006.

An ‘honour’ killing sees the victim (as a supposed ‘offender’ against the family ‘honour’) killed in order to restore the ‘honour’, which has supposedly been lost through their behaviour. Other forms of ‘honour’ based violence can include forced marriage, domestic abuse, sexual harassment, threats to kill, isolation and much more.

Banaz Mahmod and her sister had arranged marriages at the ages of 16 and 17 . Banaz was then raped and murdered by family members after leaving an abusive marriage, which her relatives believed brought shame upon them. Banaz had sought help from the police 5 times in the run up to her murder.

Banaz’s death has seen the introduction of a system of risk assessments for domestic abuse, stalking and honour-based violence (DASH) In order to improve the police response, however a 2015 report by the police watchdog on ‘honour’ based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation found that only 3 out of 43 police forces in England and Wales were adequately prepared to respond to the needs of victims and take cases through prosecution.

Payzee Mahmood, the sister of Banaz, has said she is pleased that her sister’s story is being told in the upcoming ITV factual drama.

We hope that the telling of Banaz’s story shall raise awareness of the problem, with an estimated 5,000 ‘honour’ killings happening every year worldwide, and an estimated 12-15 cases in Britain every year.

The telling of Banaz’s story comes at a time where increased domestic abuse throughout lockdown has been labelled the ‘shadow pandemic’. Karma Nirvana, a charity supporting victims of ‘honour’ based violence and forced marriage, have commented that there has been very little documented on the impact of covid-19 on the smaller and more specialist services and the effect of lockdown on ‘honour’ based violence victims, who have particularly struggled when having to isolate with extended families. The charity have reported an increase in calls to the helpline relating to abuse not only from partners, but from in-laws too. In the past 12 months, the charity have received 50 cases whereby victims live with in-laws who are the key perpetrators.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing any kind of abuse, we are here to help and can assist with domestic abuse and forced marriage. Contact the family department in confidence on 01484 821500 or email family@ramsdens.co.uk to arrange a free same day consultation. We can obtain protection remotely without you having to attend the offices and can deal with matters over the telephone or email to obtain the protection you, or someone you know requires.

If you are in immediate danger, call 999 to speak with the police. If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, call 999 and then press 55. This will transfer your call to the relevant police force who will assist you without you having to speak.