Govt launches helpline support for forced marriage victims

Victims of forced marriages and so-called “honour” violence can now access emotional and practical support via a dedicated helpline.

The helpline is being run by the charity Karma Nirvana but is part-funded by the government’s Forced Marriage Unit, a joint initiative by the Foreign Office and Home Office.

Daubed the “Honour network,” the phone line will be staffed by survivors of forced marriages and violence and will offer practical and emotional support to victims.

Launching the helpline today, Home Office minister Vernon Coaker said: “This helpline run by survivors, for survivors, is a big step in the fight to raise awareness of the issues of forced marriage and honour-based violence and is crucial in giving victims across the country the confidence to come forward.

“We recognise that the scale of these issues remains unknown and much of the problem stays underground. We are determined across government to continue engaging with local communities and taking action to protect victims to put an end to this appalling practice.”

Jasvinder Sanghera, founder of Karma Nirvana explained the Honour Network is designed to reclaimed the word “honour”.

“It’s designed for victims, survivors or potential victims of honour based crimes to reassure them they are victims not perpetrators,” she said.

Commander Steve Allen, the Association of Chief Police Officer’s lead on honour crime said the helpline marked an important step towards supporting victims of a complex crime area.

He added: “Police forces, together with partners, agencies and local communities have been working to tackle this area of violent crime.

“We welcome and support the launch of the National Forced Marriage helpline as a way of providing support and practical help to people experiencing honour-based violence.”