Honour, Violence & Murder
Updated: Oct 7, 2019
Honour based violence: seminar with 23 Essex Street and the True Honour charity
MALA and 23 Essex Street Chambers were delighted to welcome a large number of attendees including over 30 police officers and police staff to a seminar by True Honour looking at honour-based violence, its investigation and the experience of Sarbjit Athwal. In a thought-provoking and personal account, Sarbjit shared her personal story of life within a marriage bound by strict adherence to a code of honour which led to the murder of a young mother of two.
After two failed police inquiries, Clive Driscoll took over the third investigation and explained how dogged police work eventually brought the murderers to justice; the mother in law and husband being sentenced respectively to 15 and 20 years in prison. Clive, a veteran detective chief inspector having served 35 years with the Metropolitan Police Service gave advice to serving officers to pursue all leads, keep an open mind and be fearless of criticism.
Eloise Marshall QC led an interesting Q&A exploring why previous police inquiries had failed to investigate the murder properly, whether honour-based violence is a specific feature of one religion or another and whether it is common amongst third generation Asian children.
MALA is especially grateful to West Midlands Police for very kindly holding this event at their headquarters and we are delighted that many serving police offers gave feedback that the two talks enhanced their understanding of honour-based violence and inspired them to consider it in a new light. One serving member of West Midlands Police said:
Thank you, the content and delivery was excellent. It will change the way my team understand HBV. I will be briefing them (20 staff) and will also share the learning with my Force contract supervision colleagues. Our role is to take all initial contact for West Midlands Police, by 999, 101 calls, live chat and email, which amount to 2 million contacts a year, so the evening will serve to educate those staff who have first contact and need to understand and deal with reports of HBV.
MALA thanks True Honour, 23 Essex Street, West Midlands Police and, of course, all those who attended.