SAS RIGHTS & Saima Afzal Solutions She Dared : She Won

 Equality & Human Rights Advice/Research & Training


Dear Saima


I attended the seminar in St Asaph today and was variously inspired and moved to tears and laughter by your talk.  I don’t think you should have worried about the timing, you could have held that room for at least another few days!


I grew up as an expatriate in an Islamic country so your emphasis that this was not about religion really resonated with me, I know from the hundreds of many great, generous, loving and kind Muslims I met during my childhood (and since then, in the UK) that violence and repression is not what this is all about, especially for a religion whose very name has “peace” at its root.


My work as a solicitor specialising in domestic abuse work used to bring me great energy but due to various tedious “internal political” circumstances I had been losing vigour and passion for it in the last couple of years, I just felt weary where previously I had felt the sort of “inspiring anger” that kept me going.  However, your talk today re-ignited some of that and I can actually see the point of my job again!


In my “spare time” (such as it is!) I am also a volunteer on a Mountain Rescue Search & Rescue Team and my main role (due to my Family Law experience of talking to people in difficult circumstances) is talking to family members of the missing person.  My experience is that they will often speak more openly to me, in my Mountain Rescue “uniform”, than to the police – when I heard Det Supt Geraint Jones speak after you I realised there is potentially also a role for awareness of HBV and FM in Mountain Rescue search management, if a person from any cultural sphere which vulnerable to HBV or FM goes missing and we are called out to look for them.  Geraint was really supportive of that so I have emailed my Team Leader tonight, suggesting some awareness work with Search Managers.  The “one-chance” rule means that it might just mean that one day a Mountain Rescue member is the person that flags up the possibility of this being an FM / HBV situation.


Anyway, this rambling email was just to congratulate and thank you, on so many levels, for everything today.  It was an inspiration and a privilege.


Kind regards


Caroline Yorke




Dear Saima,

RE: Forced Marriage/Honour Based Violence & Female Genital Mutilation Event 22nd March 2012 – Grimsby Institute

On behalf of the College, I would like to thank you personally for inviting the PSNI and Social Services to Grimsby to attend the above event.  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank The Grimsby Institute Group for hosting the event, the college was an outstanding building with fantastic facilities, and I speak on behalf of all my
colleagues when I say that we were made to feel very welcome and we are very grateful for the opportunity to attend the College.

With regards to the programme content, I found it very interesting and informative and highly beneficial to our organisation at this time, when we are actively seeking to raise our understanding of Honour Based Crime and how to deal with it appropriately within Northern Ireland, both from a Police Investigative approach and a Multi Agency Prevention/Protection approach.  The programme content highlighted the need for Training, working in Partnership with agencies and Engaging with local communities.

The workshop provided an ideal platform to help us understand the seriousness of the issues at hand and also it stressed the importance of providing our front line and key officers with an awareness of Honour Based Crime and the key issues to be aware of, which could help prevent loss of life.  This will help us as we develop a strategy within Northern Ireland. This event provided a much needed understanding of what Honour base crimes actually are, and where they are likely to be occurring within ourcommunities.  It was highly beneficial to learn about the Muslim culture and where ‘honour’ fits into the culture, how it has developed, and the use of Hadeeth.  The handout from “guidance for a Muslim wife” was very informative. 

It was then of great benefit to look at the travelling community and see where “honour” based crimes sat within their community, the video provided was a good resource.  The
information provided in relation to looking at Honour related issues from a male’s perspective was also very informative.

The discussion around Protection Orders, and examples of what can be added to the order and how the orders can impact upon the child/person at risk was highly beneficial. 
As was the discussion surrounding the use of DASH forms and how they could be utilised in other areas and expanded upon.

The discussion which took place in relation to early intervention, through the use of schools and doctors, assisted in the realisation that a multi agency approach is essential.  The mnemonic “PREVENTION” is a useful one to remember.

The subject of FGM was covered very well, it provided a good background as to what it actually is and why it is carried out, by whom and the laws in place in relation to it.  I found
the video shown to be very useful, in that it was impactive and put the subject matter in context, of how extreme and torturous it actually is.

Saima, I could go on, as we covered a huge amount of material at the event, all very relevant and very informative and I must thank you for all your hard work and time in assisting us at this stage in our development.  The video/audio material used was fantastic, somewhat powerful in content, but that was of great benefit to assist in our understanding.  The
handouts provided will be of great assistance to our Organisation as we endeavour to develop courses to bring awareness to our officers.

Many Thanks

Pamela Steven

Crime Training Department