Honour crime victims ‘being told to go home’

The victims of so-called "honour" crimes are being failed by the police, new figures suggest.

Only 5% of cases reported to forces are then referred to the Crown Prosecution Service, according to statistics shared with Sky News.

This comes despite a large increase in the number of cases being detected and growing political awareness of the phenomenon in recent years.

There were 256 honour crimes referred to the CPS by the police in 2016-17, resulting in 122 convictions.

Yet in a similar period, more than 5,000 honour crimes were reported to police, according to figures obtained by the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation using Freedom of Information legislation and shared with Sky News.

The term "honour crime" refers to a crime committed within a household, family or community, arising out of a perceived insult to honour.

The victims are frequently, but not exclusively, women from a black, Asian or Middle Eastern background.

In recent years there has been a sharp increase in the number of cases being reported, partly due to the criminalisation of forced marriage in 2014.

Diana Nammi, of the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation, said: "The reasons can be as small as simply wearing make up.

"It's important for women to see the process and get a guarantee of safety, free from the fear of being killed.

"Otherwise women won't feel confident in coming forward.

"It isn't enough to simply report the crime; the women seeking help need a safe place – instead we are being told that police are often sending them on the train or telling women to go home."

The fact that the 5% figure is low is shown by comparison to domestic abuse – a crime which also traditionally has a low prosecution rate. In domestic abuse, 28% of reported crimes are referred to the CPS.

The National Police Chiefs' Council told Sky News: "Honour based abuse is a complex crime type which often happens within community networks, and many victims can face further threats.

"In all cases our priority is to safeguard vulnerable victims from this appalling form of abuse, even where a conviction is not possible."

But campaigners say more support and understanding is needed if more women are to be saved from a life of violence.

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