Cheshire Constabulary joined in with others across the country in remembering victims of honour-based abuse on Thursday 14th July 2016.
Today has particular significance for the Constabulary as Shafilea Ahmed who was tragically murdered by her parents in 2003 would have been 30.
Shafilea’s significant milestone is being remembered nationally as part of charity Karma Nirvana’s annual Day of Remembrance, a day which honours the memories of both men and women affected by forced marriages and honour killings.
Shafilea’s parents were jailed in August 2012 for 25 years after being found guilty of her murder.
Shafilea had been suffocated with a plastic bag at the family home in Warrington in September 2003. The judge at the time of sentencing told the couple that their concern at being shamed in their community was greater than the love of their child.
ACC Mark Roberts said: "The incomprehensible act of parents killing someone who they gave life to affected those who investigated her murder and has been something which has stayed with everyone in the Constabulary, not just those involved in the investigation.
"Today serves as a reminder that innocent members of the community can be at risk of harm and feel isolated as they are targeted by those who they love."
Thirty officers and staff released balloons at Cheshire Police Headquarters this morning as a symbolic gesture to mark Shafilea’s birthday along with others across the country who will be doing this throughout the day.
In the run up to the Day of Remembrance, Cheshire Constabulary held a conference and workshops at Oulton Park near Tarporley. The conference aimed to share best practice between other agencies and recognise what needs to be done to tackle the issue and support victims.
ACC Mark Roberts said: "Everyone should be allowed the freedom to live their lives without fear of violence. We don’t want those suffering from honour based abuse to suffer in silence. We want them to seek the help and support available."
Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane said: "Cheshire has a diverse community which we are proud of and I am committed to working with the Chief Constable to ensure we will continue to have a police service that is there to protect and serve everyone, especially those who are at risk of harm.
"Shafilea’s death was something that affected both the community of Warrington and beyond, and officers and staff in the Constabulary. My thoughts are with all who were and are still affected by her tragic murder.
"The Assistant Chief Constable is absolutely right, everyone should be allowed the freedom to live their lives without fear of violence. I would urge anyone who has been or is a victim of honour based abuse to speak to the Constabulary – we want to support you and you will be treated seriously."
Anyone who is a victim of honour based crime can call Cheshire Police on 101. Alternatively information can be given anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 55 11.
You can also call charity Karma Nirvana’s helpline on 0800 5999 247, which is a confidential service.
You can find out more about the support service by going to www.karmanirvana.org.uk
Today serves as a reminder that innocent members of the community can be at risk of harm and feel isolated as they are targeted by those who they love.