“Honour-violence” funding missing its target

The Swedish government has put aside 180 million kronor for projects tackling so-called "honour-violence" across the country. But critics say that the research behind the government's plans is flawed and only a fraction of the money is going to immigrant organisations.

The death of 26 year old Fadime Shaindal at the hands of her father in January 2002 prompted the government to devote more resources to investigating the issue of honour-related violence, usually within immigrant families.

But an investigation by Swedish Radio’s Ekot programme has shown that only half a million kromor of the 12 million which has so far been distributed has gone to organisations run by foreigners in Sweden.

Much of the problem lies with the initial research carried out by the government, said Ekot.

“We had a lot of freedom to do what we wanted,” said Katarina Alpkvist, an equality expert at Östergötland county council.

“That meant that the result was very vague,” she said.

Every council carried out its own government-funded research, but in an uncoordinated fashion which led to “weak results”, according to a council member in Jönköping.

Around 2,000 young women in Sweden are at risk of falling victim to honour-violence. But while the vast majority of the money has been spent on educating council staff, school carers, police and others about how to recognise honour-related violence, many believe that more should be directed towards preventative measures.

Katarina Alpkvist told Ekot that immigrant organisations should be given the resources to change attitudes within their own communites, within “the families which legitimise honour-related violence”.

“I believe that it is very important and that’s what we’ve got to get to grips with in future,” she said.

In her region, 650,000 kronor has been distributed to projects attempting to deal with the issue. But only 1,500 kronor has so far been given to an immigrant-run project – a panel debate.

The Serbian Association in Malmö has been one of the few immigrant groups to receive funding for combatting honour-related violence within the community it represents.

“It’s the parents. It’s the middle-aged Serbian men – that’s where the problem lies,” said Branco Rodic at the Serbian Association.

He told Ekot that the most effective way to change the attitudes of older generations towards young, independent women’s independence and sexuality was conversations within the family.

“It’s not normal meetings, where you sit and listen and don’t know anyone – rather, it’s when you’re sitting with family members who you see every day. Then you really begin to think again,” said Rodic.

Sources: SR