Savera UK, a Merseyside-based charity and leading organisation tackling ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) and harmful practices has launched its first-ever fundraising campaign, to raise money to help it deliver its life-saving support services and vital education programmes.
HBA is a crime committed to defend a family or community’s honour. Perpetrators feel that the only way to restore family ‘honour’ is to harm or kill. HBA can often also include harmful practices, including female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.
Savera UK’s “5K to End HBA” campaign highlights that 5,000 people each year die because of HBA and calls on people to to take on a 5K challenge of their own to remember those 5,000 and raise awareness to help end the practice for good.
According to Home Office data, instances of HBA-related offences in the UK have risen for two consecutive years, with specialist services like Savera UK experiencing growing demand.
The “5K to End HBA” campaign will officially launch at 4pm on Friday 25th November, which is also the start of the UN Orange the World campaign and its 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
The charity and its supporters will march from St Luke’s Bombed-Out Church through Liverpool City Centre to the waterfront in protest against HBA, stand in solidarity with survivors and remember those who have been lost.
Before the march departs, there will be speeches from Savera UK Survivor Ambassador, Saliha Rashid, Merseyside PCC, Emily Spurrell and Savera UK CEO & Founder, Afrah Qassim, and performers from Movema and Bring the Fire Project will also be in attendance.
Savera UK CEO and Founder, Afrah Qassim, said: “This campaign is vitally important for shining a light specifically on ‘honour’-based abuse and harmful practices in the UK. Although they are all forms of domestic abuse, HBA and harmful practices are often not recognised or dealt with appropriately, due to lack of awareness and understanding.
“In much domestic abuse legislation and protocols, HBA is not given the specific focus it needs as a separate issue. Also, specialist services with the appropriate knowledge and experience to tackle HBA and support survivors and those at risk, like Savera UK, are enormously underfunded, which is why our first-ever fundraising campaign is so important.
“All money raised through the campaign will help us to continue to support survivors, help those at risk to safely flee their abusive environments and develop training and education programmes that improve awareness around HBA and harmful practices among professionals and the general public, helping us to end these practices for good.”
The charity is encouraging people to undertake the #5KForThe5000 during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (25 November – 10 December) but challenges can be completed at any time in November or December.
Due to the cost-of-living crisis and understanding financial pressures on households, Savera UK is also encouraging people to sign up for free, even if they are unable to raise funds.
Afrah added: “Raising awareness is just as important as raising money. One of the reasons we are seeing more HBA related offences and prosecutions for such crimes is because they are being identified and recorded as such.
“Working on the front line of this issue, we know that current data only shows the tip of the iceberg. By increasing awareness, we give greater exposure to the issue and are more able to tackle it. Even if all you raise through your 5k is awareness, you will still be saving and changing lives.”