Proposed reforms to UK policy on honour based violence: the big societal divide?
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AbstractBackground: Honour Based Violence results in several deaths each year in the UK and has many health and social implications. In recent years, practitioners have stated that the scale is increasing and that government policies are not making adequate provision to address it as a major problem. Method: The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee report remains the most comprehensive government document on the issue of honour based violence in England and Wales to date. We used the Rist policy cycle framework to critically analyse the Report, dismantling the policy process into three key stages for subsequent independent assessment. Results: Current policy defines and categorises honour based violence differently from domestic violence yet has chosen to tackle it under the rubric of domestic violence. Responses have been constrained by limited capital to adequately finance specialist interventions, lack of expertise, inability to reach individuals who are most susceptible therefore highly vulnerable, and contraction of specialist non-governmental organisations who have always been at the fore in tackling issues on honour based violence. Consequently, the government’s response has been unconvincing and improperly conceptualised by accepting it into the broader context of violence against women and hence domestic violence. Conclusion: Stronger coordinated response at local level is needed but this is where issues of community, integration, tolerance, and the Big Society agenda are made complex and serve to confound new legislation and policy. Overcoming highly sensitive cultural barriers is a key challenge to all. Consequently, we recommend that for honour based violence to be tackled effectively, the government needs to re-access and take a broader view on the issue by constructing honour based violence within the discourse of human rights in order to declare a position that sits easily in the context of cultural differences and the Big Society.
JournalJournal of Health and Social Care Improvement
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