NEWS

More help in place for victims of honour-based violence

01/30/2013 09:40 EST | Updated 04/01/2013 05:12 EDT
Many members of the Afghan and Muslim community are now reacting to the changes brought about by the verdict in the case known as the Shafia murders.

A year ago, a spotlight was placed on the taboo surrounding honour-based killings during the Shafia trial and some people were frustrated by the negative portrayal of their communities.

Mohammed Shafia, his wife Tooba Yayha and Hamed Shafia are all appealing a judge's ruling in connection with the killing of Rona Amir Mohammed and the couple's three daughters in 2009.

The judge ruled that the killings stemmed from "a completely twisted concept of honour."

Makai Aref, the president of the Afghan Women's Centre in Montreal, said thinking about the case is still difficult for her.

"It was a very very hard and painful case for all of us," she said. "Especially for me as a mother."

Aref said she would like to hold a workshop on family violence. She said she has dealt with several conjugal violence cases and said there are services in place to help couples.

"We have a committee advisor, with a senior woman, and they give them advice," she said.

Sikander Hashmi, who attended most of the trial, said the trial brought about an impetus for change.

He said a group of imams and community leaders came together and took action by setting up resources for people in need of help.

"There were sermons given across the country," he said. "There are shelters available across the country and a toll-free line for Muslim women in need."

The federal government gave Montreal's Shield of Athena Family Services $348,000 last March.

The non-profit organization for victims of family violence used the money to launch an awareness campaign about honour-based violence.

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