New help for victims of honour violence

A HELPLINE aimed at providing support for victims of honour-based violence was launched in Huntingdon on Monday (June 16). The Choice helpline – 0800 5999 818 – will be run by specially trained female police officers 24 hours a day and is the second of

A HELPLINE aimed at providing support for victims of honour-based violence was launched in Huntingdon on Monday (June 16).

The 'Choice' helpline - 0800 5999 818 - will be run by specially trained female police officers 24 hours a day and is the second of its kind in the country.

Detective Inspector Melanie Dales, who is running the initiative, said: "So called honour based crimes can be complex to understand and often go unreported because the victim doesn't feel they can approach police. The purpose of the hotline is to provide victims with a confidential way to get in touch with specially trained officers."

Cambridgeshire police receives about eight calls related to honour-based violence each month.

A victim of the violence spoke at the launch of the hotline at Cambridgeshire police headquarters in Huntingdon.

The woman in her 20s described how she was forced in to marriage while on holiday with her family.

Most Read

She said: "My life was planned for me. I was just waiting for it to happen. I could feel the pressure I had to be the good dutiful Muslim daughter and sister who had no choice but to accept my fate of an arranged marriage and the life that it would bring for me.

"The plan suddenly became reality on a family holiday to Pakistan not so long ago. I was promised there were no plans of a wedding for me. One morning I was awoken and told I would be getting married the next morning and had to go out and choose a wedding dress.

She added: "The fear of putting shame on my family, disrespecting and disobeying them, the isolation and the complete state of shock made me go through the ceremony. I was frightened of the consequences if I didn't, I was scared I would be beaten up and kept in Pakistan for longer, so I just did what was asked of me."

On her return to England she made contact with the police who helped with support services which gave her the confidence to leave her marriage.

INFORMATION: Call the helpline on 0800 5999 818.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter