Honour-based family violence often unreported, say experts

Calgary police and educators are learning about how to recognize and deal with honour-based violence. Social agencies say such violence is prevalent in the city and often involves child and spousal abuse.
Aruna Papp spoke about honour-based violence at a conference in Calgary on Monday. (CBC)

Calgary police and educators are learning about how to recognize and deal with honour-based violence.

Social agencies say such violence is prevalent in the city and often involves child and spousal abuse.

"What we see, what makes it into the news, is simply the tip of the iceberg when it comes to these types of issues," says John Winterdyk, president of the Alberta Community Crime Prevention Association.

The two-day conference is sponsored by Alberta Community Crime Prevention Association and includes police, teachers, lawyers, health-care workers and judges.

Aruna Papp, the keynote speaker on Monday, agrees that most honour-based crimes still go unreported.

"How do we prevent it? We are not training the professionals. There always seems to be less funding," she said.

Papp is a victim of honour-based violence, which is defined by organizers in a press release as violence that “stems from a matrix of cultural values premised on women's inferiority.”

Papp says it happens when girls and women who are new to the country embrace Canadian values.

"They go to school and they are taught that you can think for yourself, you can make decisions for yourself, you can choose your spouse, you can choose your career," she said.

"We need a collaborative national policy, as to how to do prevention. So far we are having knee-jerk reactions. When something happens, then we throw money here and there. So we don't have a long-term plan. Honour-based violence is not going to go away. It's here, and it is something that needs attention."

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