An MP has launched a new Bill under the Ten Minute Rule which seeks to ban the use of the term Honour Killings in official documents.
Whilst Nusrat Ghani MP’s Bill is unlikely to make its way through Parliament (it suffers with the obstacles of being a Private Members Bill which rarely make it onto the table, and under the Ten Minute Rule in a long queue of Bills wouldn’t see the light of day), it was launched with a view to raising awareness around this issue. This it has done with some success, having gained national media coverage from the BBC, The Independent, The Telegraph and others.
The Crime (Aggravated Murder of and Violence Against Women) Bill 2016-17, includes a raft of measures which not only ban the use of the term Honour Killing, but would also require UK authorities to fund assistance for British women attacked in other countries and for the bodies of those murdered to be repatriated. The Bill was introduced in January of this year and is due to have its second reading on 24th March, 2017.
The Bill itself never materialised, but its description can be read on Parliament’s website, which we’ve also added below:
A Bill to make provision about the aggravated murder of, and aggravated domestic violence against, women, who are citizens of the United Kingdom, outside the United Kingdom; to prohibit the use of the term honour killing in official publications; to require the Government to arrange for, and meet from public funds the costs of, the repatriation of the bodies of female citizens of the United Kingdom who are victims of aggravated murder outside the United Kingdom and the provision of assistance to female citizens of the United Kingdom who are victims of aggravated domestic violence outside the United Kingdom in order to enable them to return to the United Kingdom; to provide for the prosecution in the United Kingdom in certain circumstances of citizens of the United Kingdom who commit the aggravated murder of, or threaten or incite domestic violence against, women, who are citizens of the United Kingdom, outside the United Kingdom; and for connected purposes.
Nusrat Ghani MP believes that the term offers perpetrators a form of justification for their actions. She also hopes to challenge the public’s perception of the term as she feels it makes it harder to identify the collection of crimes present in honour based violence which can include rape, abuse, slavery and murder.
Crucially, Ms Ghani also hopes that removing the term from official documentation would strip away unhelpful cultural and religious overtones and give law enforcement a clearer understanding of the crimes involved, and send out a message that violence in any context will not be tolerated.
Researching Reform contacted Ms Ghani’s office for comment and to ask exactly what kind of documentation she hoped the Bill might cover.
Joshua Crossley, Ms Ghani’s Senior Parliamentary Researcher:
“In terms of what “official documents” means, [this would] cover any strategy, any piece of legislation, any guidelines from the police or CPS or justice system, and any media release – so neither the Government nor any of its agencies or departments would ever use the term.”
Philip Davies MP, who is now perhaps best known for his attempts at derailing proposed legislation he feels is too focused on women, has opposed this Bill on the grounds that it does not address violence against men. Whilst we have every sympathy with this view, we do think Davies should stop behaving like an oaf and go about tabling his own Bills to deal with violence and abuse against men instead.