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Last Updated: Friday, 11 January 2008, 18:18 GMT
'Honour crime' meeting to be held
Sayra, Alicia and Sophia Riaz (left to right)
Police believe Mohammed Riaz killed his wife and daughters
Victims of so-called honour crimes and forced marriages are to discuss the issue with police officers at an event in Lancashire next week.

Representatives from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), voluntary groups and members of the public will also attend the conference in Preston.

Police hope to be able to assess the scale of the problem and to work out how to best protect victims.

They also want to raise awareness of such crimes in the local area.

About 12 people are estimated to be victims of so-called honour killings each year in the UK, and many other people are victims of other serious offences.

In November 2006, Caneze Riaz, 39, and daughters Sayrah, 16, Sophia, 12, Alicia, 10, and Hannah, aged three, died in their beds at the house in Accrington.

Mrs Riaz's husband and the children's father Mohammed is believed to have started the fire. He was in the house when the fire was started and died later in hospital from his injuries.

Another recent high-profile case is that of Rahan Arshad, 36, who beat his family to death with a bat at their home in Turves Drive, Cheadle Hulme, Greater Manchester, in July 2006.

We are working closely with police and other agencies to encourage victims to seek help
Vivien Mumford, CPS

He then fled, leaving their bodies to lie undiscovered for almost a month.

There have been many theories as to what triggered events, particularly that his wife Uzma had been having an affair.

Vivien Mumford, from the CPS, said: "Forced marriage and so-called honour crimes constitute a fundamental abuse of human rights.

"There is no honour in the commission of murder, rape, kidnap and the many other acts, behaviour and conduct which they involve."

She added: "We are working closely with police and other agencies to encourage victims to seek help and have confidence in the criminal justice process.

"However, much work needs to be done. This strategy consultation is a vital step."

Det Supt Graham Herrmann, head of the Public Protection Unit at Lancashire Constabulary, said: "We see that so-called honour-based violence is an extension of domestic abuse which seems to affect certain communities more than others.

"We would like to build on our strong track record on domestic abuse in relation to honour-based violence and in order to do so we need to better understand the problems faced by our communities and encourage victims and anyone else with concerns to contact us."

The event will be held at Lancashire Constabulary's headquarters in Hutton, Preston.

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