Women from Britain's ethnic communities coming forward to report honour- related violence has increased than a double in three years, reveals new figures.
Figures from the Metropolitan Police show that in the 12 months to April 2011 there were 443 incidents reported as cases of honour violence or forced marriage in London alone, more than double that in 2007-08.
AdvertisementA separate recent survey of all police forces, using Freedom of Information Act, revealed that there were nearly 3,600 reported cases nationwide in 2010, The Telegraph reports.
Police figures have also revealed that a significant proportion of victims drop their cases after initially coming forward.
Campaigners warn that recorded cases may be just the "tip of the iceberg" with thousands of incidents going unreported each year because of fear of reprisal, family pressure or inconsistent police recording.
"The figures are woefully underestimated, we are dealing with the tip of the iceberg, we don't know how many thousands are at risk because it is a hidden crime and there is no statutory duty to record it," said Jasvinder Sanghera, the founder of the victim support group Karma Nirvana.
"This is an issue for British born subjects, we have really got to acknowledge that and move away from being 'culturally sensitive' and fear of being called racist, it's an issue of child protection," the paper quoted her, as saying.
Sanghera also urged people from all backgrounds to show support for criminalising forced marriage during the consultation.
"This is not a cultural issue, it's an issue of abuse and while we tiptoe around it we are giving power to the perpetrators," she added.