New helpline for victims of Forced Marriage and Honour Based Abuse
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner is launching a
24-hour helpline to support victims of Forced Marriage and Honour
David Jamieson has provided £47,200 to fund the project, which
will offer confidential advice to victims and survivors across the
The prokect uses money from the Victims Fund, which can only be
spent on victim services and not additional police officers.
A forced marriage is a criminal offence in the UK and takes
place against someone's will. Emotional, physical or financial
pressure may be used to force the victim to marry, often by their
Honour Based Abuse is a violence crime which includes patterns
of coercive behaviour which can often be perpetrated by family
members. This practise is used to control the victim's behaviour
and 'protect' cultural or religious beliefs. Abuse can include
serious offences such as murder, rape or false imprisonment.
The service will help people like Raj Holness Founder &
Director of Breaking the Silence (BTSUK) a survivor of two separate
attempted forced marriages. Who experienced years of abuse at the
hands of her family.
The helpline has been launched as West Midlands Police sees the
number of recorded Forced Marriages increase from 7 in 2011 to 35
The number of recorded Honour Based Abuse crimes has gone from
52 in 2011 to 182 in 2018.
But it's thought these statistics might only be the tip of the
iceberg. In 2018, the Home Office's Forced Marriage Unit recorded
over 1,764 cases in the UK.
The Police and Crime Commissioner's new 24-hour helpline will
offer emotional and practical support to vulnerable young people
Fully trained staff who have the experience and expertise to
identify those at risk, will be on hand to direct victims to
counselling services and access to immediate emergency refuge.
The helpline will be officially launched at the Roshni Forced
Marriage and Honour Based Abuse Conference at Millennium
The 24-hour service is available 7 days a week and is free from
mobiles and landlines, call on: 0800 953 9777
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson
said: "Since my election in 2014 supporting victims of crime has
been one of my top priorities.
"The launch of this new 24-hour helpline will ensure that
victims of Forced Marriage and Honour Based Abuse are able to seek
the right help and support".
"As well as supporting victims I am also committed to tackling
the violence in the first place. I shall continue to support West
Midlands Police to ensure so called hidden crimes are dealt with as
a matter of urgency."
Raj Holness, a survivor of two attempted Forced Marriages and
Founder & Director of Breaking the Silence (BTSUK) added:"As a
survivor of two attempted forced marriages, I fully support the
introduction of this 24-hour helpline.
"At 18 and 20, I escaped two separate forced marriages and was
on the run from my family. With limited support networks available
I spiralled into depression and suicidal thoughts.
"I survived horrific domestic and sexual abuse for over 15 years
and was a victim of attempted murder. I didn't talk about it to
"22 years ago I decided to speak out with my autobiography The
Only Arranged Marriage'. I then founded Breaking the Silence
(BTSUK), an organisation to raise awareness, support and encourage
victims and survivors to speak openly about their experiences,
without fear of being trapped.
"My mission it to give a voice back to the most vulnerable women
in society and use my experiences as a platform to encourage other
women to come forward."