Domestic violence under the spotlight

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TRAFFORD Housing Trust (THT) hosted a conference to raise awareness of domestic violence, abuse and honour killings.

Forced marriages and honour violence, particularly in black and minority ethnic communities within the social housing sector, were the key issues under the spotlight at the event, which was held at Manchester United Football Club.

The aim was to highlight best practice in supporting victims and survivors.

National campaigner Jasvinder Sanghera, a victim of forced marriage and honour based violence, was the event’s key note speaker.

Jasvinder is the author of best selling biography Shame’, a testimony to women experiencing forced marriages, and the founder member and director of Karma Nirvana, an Asian women’s project, for victims of those crimes.

She addressed more than 200 delegates including regional and national registered social landlords, local authority housing departments, Women’s Aid and domestic violence helplines, police and social services, voluntary and community groups.

Jasvinder also spoke on the subject of izzat’, which translates as honour and shame, stressed how seriously it must be taken and gave delegates advice for best practice for how to help victims.

Matthew Gardiner, chief executive of THT, said: “Domestic violence and honour based crimes are an outrageous abuse of power.

“The trust is proud to lead the way to put this subject under the spotlight. Our event stressed that sensitivities and political correctness around these issues must be stripped away, they must be viewed for what they are, serious crime against the person.

“By hosting this conference we have helped draw out best practice to share with our peer associations, organisations and charities.”

Speakers at the event held on Thursday March 12 included Home Office policy advisor Hannah Buckley, who spoke on the work of its Forced Marriage Unit, THT’s homeless champion, Aysha Qasim, and Kim Entwistle, a housing advice and homelessness co-ordinator.

They spoke about the work of their respective teams, which aim to provide support to people at risk of becoming homeless through family and relationship break downs and domestic violence.

Greater Manchester Police’s DS Nat Percival, Lisa Gordon from Trafford Children’s and Young People Services and Shirley Burton from Trafford Probation Services all spoke about the advantages and benefits of holding multi agency risk assessment conferences for high risk cases domestic violence cases.

South Manchester Law Centre’s Nick Donlan advised on best practice for people with immigration status not eligible for financial help from the state.

11:59am Tuesday 25th March 2008

By Hannah Al-Taraboulsy

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