Reported honour crimes rise sharply in Denmark

womenWhile not culturally common in Scandinavia, honour crimes are a regular occurrence in certain strict societies, including Afghanistan, Iran and Somalia. A dramatic 300 percent increase in the number of honour crimes reported in Denmark over the last four years is concerning Danish authorities.

New figures released by the National Organisation of Shelters for Battered Women and their Children (LOKK) indicate that the number of ethnic minority youths seeking help with honour crimes is steadily rising. There were more than 400 so-called honour crimes registered within the last four years, and no one knows how many more went unreported.

Since 2005, LOKK has been helping these young people with interfamily conflicts. Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper reports that LOKK counselled 101 people in 2005 who knew someone, or who were themselves, victims of such a situation. By 2008 that figure had risen to 397.

LOKK’s Lene Johannesson said that young women subjected to honour related attacks make up the bulk of the cases. Many of the calls are from young immigrant women who found a Danish boyfriend against the wishes of their parents. Other honour crimes include forced marriages, threats, violence, and even being returned to their home country for ‘re-education’.

“There have been threats about locking them up or sending them back to their homeland. We also see threats of violence,” said Johannesson. “But we also deal with those who just want to behave like other Danish kids – going out at night and making their own decisions about education and so on.”

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