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Last Updated: Friday, 29 February 2008, 10:57 GMT
Honour violence scheme a success
A helpline for Teesside victims of forced marriages and domestic violence has been a success, police said.

The phoneline was set up in November last year to help the victims of "honour-based" violence and has received 150 calls.

The confidential Choice helpline is manned around the clock and volunteers want to hear from more people.

Honour killings are rare in the region, but there have been female suicides in the Asian community, police said.

Inspector Helen Eustace, of Cleveland Police, said: "If we can save just one person's life then we will have done our job properly.

"We want to ensure that anyone who is involved in honour-based violence or a forced marriage is safe"

Jasvinder Sanghera was 15 when her parents showed her a photo of a man they told her she would marry within two weeks.

Through intimidation

Despite being locked in her bedroom, she managed to escape and run away.

She went on to set up a support organisation for women in a similar position called, Karma Nirvana, which has been working with Cleveland Police.

She said: "Please do not be alone - know there are people out there who are trained to listen and that can help you.

"You don't even need to tell us your name - please ring the helpline if you want to speak to a survivor who has come out the other side."

A spokesman for Cleveland Police said: "This is not about arranged marriages but forced marriages and associated practices where the young people concerned have no say and are forced through intimidation or violence into co-operating.

"We have not had a so-called honour-based killing in this area but there have been incidents of female suicide in the Asian community and of course, as is so often in cases like this, the unanswered question is what drove them to the suicide."

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
One of the women who helped set up the scheme



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