Netherlands: Schools should be more alert to honor violence

Schools must be more alert to honor-murder.  Offenses based on honor-violence happen more often than realized.  Intervening in time can prevent victims, according to a study by research agency Sardes for the Ministry of Integration.  The results were published Thursday in the conference "Honor related violence in and around the school" (Eergerelateerd geweld in en om de school).

Sardes studied 40 middle-schools and regional educational centers (ROCs) all over the Netherlands.  Twenty four of these had dealt with honor-related violence in previous years.  Students were threatened or even murdered by family members because they had blemished the family honor.  Sometimes the perpetrators sat in class.  Most victims were girls of Turkish or Moroccan origins who had lived too loosely, according to their families.

Schools often don't know how they must arm their students against these types of family violence, claims research agency Sardes.  Teachers prefer not to get 'burned' in class.  They're already busy enough with paying attention to the other social problems like alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence and loverboys.

The problem happens particularity in ROCs with a 'colored' student population.  Almost all 14 ROCs surveyed dealt with honor-related violence.  In middle-schools with many immigrant students there is less honor-violence.

The large majority of schools don't have a specific policy in this area.  Barely two ROCs in Rotterdam and Twente have a program to inform students about honor-violence and which helps them to note violence and seek help.

The researchers ask that schools in risk would appoint somebody that can seek help if students have to deal with honor-violence.  "But the solution must not be sought exclusively in the schools," according to the report.  Working together with social workers, police and the courts is crucial.

Earlier this year the cabinet set aside 18 million euro extra to help victims of honor-murder, domestic violence and human trade.  This amount will go up to 32 million in 2012.

The umbrella organizations for ROCs and middle-schools, the MBO and VO councils, think that schools are tasked with noting violence and referring students.

Source: ND (Dutch)

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