「私の妹が危険にさらされているとは誰も信じていませんでした」: 人種が虐待された女性を危険にさらす方法

After 12 結婚年数, 「Z」はフランス人の夫に残酷に殺害された. 彼女の死の1年前, the couple and their daughter had returned from France to the north of England to be closer to Z’s British Pakistani family. Z had two degrees but her husband made her take a job in a retail store. She was required to hand him all her wages. “She had holes in her shoes,” says her sister, Sanaya. “She used to be lively but she had become so withdrawn. She secretly came to see me and I couldn’t bear the state she was in.”

Z told her sister that her husband had been excessively controlling for years. He’d punched her and shaken their daughter. Social services had become involved. She wanted a divorce. “I feel so guilty that I couldn’t save her,” Sanaya says.

“It took me a long time to persuade her to go to the police. She was so worried about the shame she thought it would bring on herself and our community. She kept saying, ‘No one’s going to believe me’. She was right. Neither the police nor social services did believe her.”

This article is about Z. Some details of her killing in 2018 are disguised to protect her daughter, who has yet to be told that her father stabbed her mother more than 50 タイムズ; a crime she may have witnessed. He is serving a life sentence with a minimum term of 16 年. It is also about other black and racial minority women who were killed during a 10-year period from 2009-18, recorded in the unique database of the Femicide Census.

Former solicitor Clarrie O’Callaghan and Karen Ingala Smith, の最高経営責任者 Nia, a sexual and domestic violence charity, are the co-founders of the Femicide Census with pro bono support provided by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, the international law firm, and consultancy Deloitte. In addition to the 10-year overview, the census produces an annual report that documents every woman killed by a man in the preceding 12 月.

Precisely how many black and racial minority women were killed in the decade is unknown. The census sends a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the relevant police force after a woman is killed. In the information returned to the census, the ethnicity of a victim was recorded in only a fifth of cases (21%) – and not always accurately. In one instance, a victim was recorded as “oriental”, in another “dark European”.

“The lack of data is shocking,” says Ingala Smith. “Without data, we’re prevented from properly identifying the barriers faced by women or the unique risks they may face. What we do know is that they need better access to far more specialist services led by and for minoritised women.

“As founders of the census, we are being denied the opportunity to highlight the impact of systemic racism on a very significant proportion of the UK’s population. That’s not good enough.”

A spokesperson for the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) says the provision of information on ethnicity by victims of abuse is voluntary. “We recognise we do not collect enough data… we are working to align what we record and mandate where we can.”

In spite of the lack of data, a pattern of repeated fatal errors is clear. “It’s not about a lack of laws, training or policies,” says campaigner Pragna Patel of the charity Southall Black Sisters (SBS). “It’s the failure to implement them adequately, plus racism and profound inequality of which domestic abuse is a cause and a consequence.”

Terms such as “BAME” create a false picture of homogeneity. This crude shorthand encompasses a diverse range of cultures and ethnicities, including African heritage, South Asian, Caribbean, 中国語, Latin American, Middle Eastern and dual heritage.

Vietnamese Quyen Nguyen, 28, a mother of two, だった burned alive in 2017 by Stephen Unwin and John McFall. Both had murdered before. The killing was sexual, sadistic, financial (Nguyen was tortured until she gave the men her pin number) and racist. On the day of the killing, McFall sent a text to Unwin saying: “We raping the Chink xxx”.

In the most common manifestation of femicide – intimate partner or family violence – what stops a racial minority woman from seeking help? Many in this group face multiple challenges that further compound gender inequality, including being trafficked, disability, poverty, クラス, a language barrier, mental health and racism.

に 2020, there were only 18 refuges run by and for black and racial minority women in the whole of the UK, while less than 5% of refuge spaces are reserved for women who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF) and who may be destitute.

Rosie Lewis of the Angelou Centre in Newcastle says that every one of the NRPF women last year who accessed the centre’s refuges had previously been forced to return to perpetrators because of a lack of help. “Services, including many local authorities, are not upholding women’s rights," 彼女が言います.

The hostile environment created by immigration policies claims victims in other ways. に 2018, Iranian illegal immigrant Dana Abdullah, その後 35, described by police as “an arrogant and controlling man” stabbed his estranged wife, Avan Najmadiein, mother of his four children, 50 タイムズ. She had refused to support his application to remain in the UK.

Forced marriages and so-called honour-based violence (HBV) – punishment for what are seen as female transgressions regarding wifely duty, virginity and “westernised” behaviour – also cost lives. At the University of Gloucester, Dr Hannana Siddiqui is researching honour killings and suicide for the Home Office. She also sees it as a human rights issue and she is concerned that some agencies are reluctant to “interfere” in what’s deemed a community’s culture. “The crimes themselves are dishonourable: they are merely justified by the perpetrator, and wider community, in the name of honour,” Siddiqui says. “The state has colluded with community and religious leaders who act as gatekeepers to prevent outside interference by agencies, including the police, on the grounds that it would be racist. That has to stop.”

Banaz Mahmod, an Iraqi Kurd, 高齢者 20, was raped, tortured and murdered in 2006 in a brutal so-called “honour” killing by six men including her father. Her killers were finally convicted but police had earlier missed five opportunities to save Mahmod’s life. Like Z, she wasn’t believed. One of the officers concerned was later promoted.

に 2008, a report estimated there were 12 HBV killings a year, and this is likely to be an underestimate. Mahmod’s killing triggered training and new guidance. しかしながら, に 2015, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary reported that only three out of 43 police forces were “well prepared for the complexity that honour-based violence can pose”. A new inspection is due.

に 2016, 5,000 cases of HBV were reported to the police. に 2019-20 cases had fallen by more than 50% に 2,024. Karma Nirvana, a national charity supporting victims of honour-based abuse, 報告しました a 355% increase in calls for help through the pandemic.

A police report on pandemic domestic homicide is imminent. The NPCC says there has been no increase. しかしながら, femicide can be pre-empted by a woman’s suicide. Black and racial minority women are three times more likely to commit suicide than other women.

Sistah Space supports women of African heritage in London. Demand for its services has risen by 300% but not its funding. It is currently raising £70,000 to buy a canal boat for training and support, a tribute to those who came from the Windrush generation. Ngozi Fulani founded the charity after the killing of Valerie Forde, 45, by her ex-partner, Roland McKoy, その後 54, seven years ago. He attacked Forde with a hammer, machete and screwdriver and murdered their daughter, 22-month-old Real Jahzara.

Six weeks before her killing, Forde reported McKoy to the police. He had threatened to burn down her house while the family were inside. It was recorded as a threat to property, not life. An inquiry criticised the Metropolitan police’s “very poor performance” and shortage of staff. Specialist training was introduced and the number of officers increased. Fulani and Rose Lewis, an independent domestic violence advocate (IDVA), are unequivocal: they have yet to see progress. “Too often, if you go to a police station, you don’t get beyond reception. Some officers say: ‘I don’t see any bruising.’ It’s because of our black skin,” Lewis says.

“An IDVA who is black is already fighting her own battle to be heard as a credible professional trying to support women,” says Suzanne Jacob, of the charity SafeLives. “Racism can be subtle. Some commissioners of services say: ‘We don’t have a diverse population.’ How loudly do women have to shout before what they say is acted upon?」

Only one in five women killed by their partners had gone to the police. GPs and health professionals are crucial; abuse is a public health issue. According to SafeLives, over half of victims of HBV had visited a GP in the previous 12 月. “Yet we are still finding health workers are not talking to people in a way that helps them to disclose,” Jacob says. “Some survivors are told: ‘You are in X or Y community, that’s what goes on…”

Sociologist Dr Ravi Thiara has co-researched Reclaiming Voice, a study into sexual violence against racial minority women. The report said that this group experiences significantly worse access to medical, legal and psychological services. Thiara says: “The women told us they wanted to be listened to, believed and shown respect. They are not big asks. A one-size-fits-all approach is desperately failing minoritised women.”

Campaigners are lobbying for further changes in the law. Siddiqui advocates for “Banaz’s law”, so when a crime is committed for alleged cultural reasons as in an “honour” killing, it should be treated as an aggravating not a mitigating factor in sentencing. Sistah Space launched a petition this month for Valerie’s Law, to make “culturally appropriate” specialist training mandatory for all police and domestic abuse agencies that work with grassroots black women and girls.

In Z’s case, when she reported her abuse, the officer decided that she was “hysterical”. They failed to interview Z’s husband in person. The social worker also disbelieved her. Sophie Naftalin from solicitors Bhatt Murphy is representing Z’s family in an attempt to reopen the inquest to enable the coroner to explore the failings that led to Z’s death.

“Z’s family believe that police failed to understand coercive control. They also believe that Z was a victim of systemic discrimination,” Naftalin says. “She was disbelieved but police appeared to believe her husband, a white male.”

Half the police forces in England and Wales have now completed a training course, Domestic Abuse Matters, addressing coercive control, co-designed with SafeLives.

“The course tries to humanise the experience people are having behind closed doors,” Jacob explains. “It appeals to the police officer’s heart as well as his or her head.”

“More training is not the answer,” says Patel. “The police have had and continue to have copious training. Implementation of the law when it comes to violence against women remains the elusive goal. We need to strengthen the mechanisms of police and institutional accountability because, without that, there is no justice.”

“Why is it so difficult to make agencies accountable for the mistakes they make?” Sanaya says. “What’s also forgotten is that when my sister was murdered, something died in our entire family.”

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