Study on 'honour' crime prosecutions published

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
Publication Date: 
December, 2008

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) study on 'honour' crime has been published today allowing prosecutors to be better able to tackle the cases.

As part of the study, a project was run in Lancashire, London, West Yorkshire and the West Midlands from July 2007 to March 2008 which tasked specifically trained prosecutors with identifying and monitoring forced marriage and 'honour' crime.

The study aimed to "identify the number and pattern of these cases and any issues facing prosecutors in accurately identifying, managing and prosecuting them".

During the nine-month pilot period a total of 35 cases of forced marriage and/or so 'honour' crime were identified and of these cases, 21 were concluded and analysed.

The cases involved 33 victims and 47 offences ranging from murder, kidnap and false imprisonment through to common assault and public order offences.

Nazir Afzal, CPS honour crimes lead advisor and sector director for London south said: "We now have a clearer picture of these offences which we can use to provide the best support we can to victims and prosecute those who are committing these offences as robustly as possible.

"Although the overall number of cases identified is small they are important because they often result in serious offences.

"In a number of cases, victims were identified as vulnerable or intimidated. The danger faced by many of these victims indicates a need to deal with these cases sensitively and to ensure that safety is at the forefront of prosecutors' minds. By flagging up these cases as early as possible, we and the police can make sure that specialised support and expertise are brought in quickly."

The study also found that all the defendants in the pilot were male and where there was one victim and one defendant their relationship was mostly spouse/ex-spouse.

Among the recommendations issued as a result of the report, prosecution guidance to lawyers will be revised to address the issues raised and the CPS will look at improving sources of advice, training and the involvement of external speakers in that training to help understand cultural issues.

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