Page last updated at 14:29 GMT, Tuesday, 13 May 2008 15:29 UK

Police build 'honour crime' links

Ch Supt Gary Beautridge
Ch Supt Gary Beautridge travelled to India to discuss the issues

A senior Kent Police officer has travelled to India to build links with law enforcement agencies in an effort to tackle so-called "honour crimes".

The force believes there should be greater understanding of issues such as honour and shame and their possible connection with domestic abuse.

"Community leaders and religious leaders never sanction violence in the home," said Ch Supt Gary Beautridge.

"Our view is that victims of domestic violence should come forward."

Ch Supt Beautridge, the area commander based at Gravesend police station, added that victims should speak to someone else in their community if they did not want to go to the police direct.

A British-born Indian woman living in north-west Kent told BBC South East Today that she had stayed in an abusive marriage for nearly 20 years before finding the courage to seek a divorce.

"Once a girl gets married, we are told that there is no going back and no leaving him under any circumstances," said the woman.

"It is drummed into our heads that that is where you are going to live for the rest of your life.

"You don't want to dishonour your family by speaking out."

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