Denmark: The national police force is making a concerted effort to stop honor killings by Asian and African Islamic immigrants
The phenomenon of ‘honour killing’ has made its way from Asia and Africa into Denmark in recent years through immigrant families from those continents. But police are finding success in combating the violence before it begins by taking a more preventive approach, encouraging threatened young people to come forward and then communicating with the family members.
An honour-related crime database was established by the National Police in August 2006, and they have since issued a manual to officers on how they should react in such cases. The database was set up following the murder of a teenage girl with immigrant roots who was killed by her brother at the order of the family’s father.
The National Police has received 154 reports of honour-related threats and violence since last August, a figure Kim Kliver, head of the National Police’s Domestic Investigative Centre, said shows that the victims – usually young women – are reporting the problem more often and that the issue is being brought out into the open.
‘The victims want police to get involved from the beginning, which is a vote of confidence for us,’ Kliver told Urban newspaper. ‘And the sooner we can address the situation the better.’
Just this past week, a Turkish man living in Denmark was charged with stabbing his daughter and her boyfriend, whom the father found unsuitable. But while murder and attempted murder make the headlines, Kliver said codes of honour among families range from violent acts down to threats.
‘Most cases are at minimum verbal threats, but taking preventive measures – such as speaking to the families – is just as important for us as solving a crime that’s already been committed,’ said Kliver.
Manu Sareen, Copenhagen city councillor and integration consultant, said he has experienced an increasing number of honour-related violence cases.
‘It may just be that more reports are being made and girls are gaining confidence in the authorities,’ he said. ‘Previous honour crimes revealed an unfortunate situation that demonstrated that the police were at a loss in such crimes. But today the officers know how to handle these cases, and that’s sensational.’
Kliver is convinced that as more women report the problem, the incident rate will fall.
‘We can always protect a daughter from her family, but it’s usually at great costs to the girl. That’s why it’s so important for us to act preventively.’
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