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Officers remember victim of 'honour' killing

Saturday 14 July is the birthday of Shafilea Ahmed, the 17-year-old student from Cheshire who was killed by her parents in 2003 for being 'too westernised' and rejecting a forced marriage.

She would have been 32 this year, and her birthday has been chosen as a date of annual remembrance for all victims of 'honour' killings, 'honour' based abuse, and forced marriage.

Today, officers from Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police joined colleagues from many different agencies across the region at an event in Birmingham to reinforce the message that we will work together to protect victims, prevent offences, and prosecute those responsible.

'Honour' based violence can affect men and women across a number of cultures and communities. It is defined as a crime or incident committed to protect or defend the honour of the family. It can take many forms, including physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, and can also be linked to instances of forced marriage.

There are an estimated twelve 'honour' killings of British citizens every year; however it is widely believed that the real number is considerably higher.

Detective Chief Inspector Jon Belcher said: "'Honour' based abuse cuts across all cultures and nationalities. Victims are not determined by age, gender, sexuality, or religion.

"In most 'honour based' abuse cases there are multiple perpetrators from the victim's family, and occasionally the community at large.  

"We have received over 100 reports of 'honour-based' abuse incidents across the Warwickshire and West Mercia policing areas since the start of 2017 which shows that 'honour-based' abuse does happen in our communities.  

"Culture and tradition are not an excuse, and we will do everything we can to make sure victims receive the best possible care and support, protect their safety, and prosecute those responsible."

There is help available throughout Warwickshire and West Mercia for people who are, or who may be at risk of forced marriage, 'honour based' violence and female genital mutilation (FGM). Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police have trained officers who can be contacted on 101.

Alternatively the national 'honour based' abuse support charity Karma Nirvana operates a national Helpline number on  0800 5999 247 and has advice on their website at


Posted by Sam Cook, Communications Officer

Published 13/07/18