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Lessons need to be learnt to prevent another Shafilea Ahmed case
11:01am Thursday 27th September 2012 in News
A CHARITY is calling for a serious case review in the town after 17-year-old school girl Shafilea Ahmed was murdered by her parents.
Karma Nirvana held a roadshow at Walton Hall on Thursday to raise awareness of honour-based violence and forced marriage. Eight people at the meeting said they were dealing with reported cases.
Shafilea’s parents Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed were jailed for life for killing their daughter after she refused to comply with an arranged marriage.
Charity founder Jasvinder Sanghera said lessons need to be learnt from ‘missed opportunities’ in Shafilea’s case.
She said: “It’s very clear professionals in Warrington and across the country fear offending communities and being called a racist.
“This is about child protection and it’s not part of any culture to be abused.
“There are not many people from education attending our roadshows and they are key to prevention if young girls go missing from school.”
A helpline set up by the charity for victims has seen an increase in calls year on year. Jasvinder revealed that the profile of victims are all the same as Shafilea.
She added: “After the case we had a lot of girls calling and saying ‘what happened to that girl in the press is happening to me’.
“A lot of people think it’s not really an issue in Warrington because there are not as many minority groups here but we have received calls from 12 cases in Warrington in the past year.”
Jasvinder, who escaped an arranged marriage, set up Karma Nirvana after her sister killed herself to get out of a violent forced marriage.
Det Supt Geraint Jones investigated Shafilea’s murder from 2003 to 2010 and said it is important to raise awareness among vulnerable communities.
l To sign the charity’s education petition ordering a debate on raising awareness in schools, visit karmanirvana.org.uk.