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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 January 2008, 15:03 GMT
Call to re-name 'honour' killings
Government forced marriage poster
The conference aims to encourage more victims to come forward
Police in Lancashire are calling for so-called honour killings to be renamed cultural killings to reflect the practice more accurately.

Mussurut Zia, who works with Lancashire police on issues of forced marriage and honour-based violence, said honour killings were not based in religion.

She said: "We do have an issue. It's difficult to say exactly how big the problem is but it's significant."

Mrs Zia was speaking at a conference on in Preston.

The conference, attended by police, professionals and local people, aims to raise awareness and encourage more victims of the so-called honour crimes to come forward.

Mrs Zia said 12 people are the victims of honour killings in the UK every year.

It's not faith, it's not race
Mussurut Zia

The government's Forced Marriage Unit in London receives 5,000 calls a year about the issue, she added.

"The issues we're dealing with in Lancashire are things like forced marriage, false imprisonment, abduction and kidnappings, domestic violence," she said.

Mrs Zia said the term "cultural killings" is more accurate than the headline-grabbing "honour killings".

"You can only salvage the reputation through that killing."

She said: "It's not faith, it's not race."

Explaining the practice, she said: "It isn't the killing that's the honour but the salvaging of a reputation that's the honour.

"You can only salvage the reputation through that killing."

In Lancashire, "honour-based violence" is treated as an extension of domestic violence.

Assistant Chief Constable Wendy Walker said: "There's no honour in this. Murder is murder."

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