Be Safe - Shireen Khan's tragic death

13th October 2008

Shireen Khan's tragic death last week has brought home the horror of violence suffered by so many women in their own homes. Shireen was strangled in her own home and had been on a life support machine in hospital.

The event is too traumatic for family members to speak of. Many who knew her have been searching for answers – even the appropriate questions to ask.

Only one truth stands out – No woman should ever be a victim of violence.

Last year, 142 people were killed in domestic violence attacks. This included 38 men.

Victim Support helps 400,000 victims of domestic violence a year. It is widely acknowledged that this is the tip of the iceberg and research has indicated that as many as 13m incidents take place a year.

Since Shireen's death a number of women have telephoned DAAP for help with the violence they are facing.
Most calls have been anonymous.
Many are fearful that their abuser will find out that they are seeking help.
Many fear for their children and what will happen to them.
Many fear community and family ostracism if they leave their violent lives.

To those women, I ask you to read this:

  • By having the courage to seek help, you have acknowledged that help is necessary and urgent
  • The biggest emotion you face now is fear; feel your fear and do it anyway – seek help!
  • You have nothing to lose but the violence
  • What good is a dead mother to her children?
  • Remember breaking the silence is the most important part in fighting back against the violence

I further ask you to know that no religion gives the right to anyone to be violent to their spouse or partner.

DAAP, together with the appropriate agencies, will work with you to create safety for you and your children.

Help is at hand – stretch out and reach it!
DAAP is on 0208 843 0945

Remember Women's Aid has a 24 hour help line
Tel: 0808 2000 247

Women's Aid:


The Women's Aid - The Survivor's Handbook has this to say about domestic violence

There are a number of different definitions of domestic violence. In Women's Aid's view, domestic violence is physical, psychological, sexual or financial violence that takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behavior. This can include forced marriage and so-called 'honour' crimes. Domestic violence often includes a range of abusive behaviours, not all of which are, in themselves, inherently 'violent' - hence some people prefer to use the term 'domestic abuse' rather than 'domestic violence'.

Domestic violence is very common: research shows that it affects one in four women in their lifetime. Two women a week are killed by their partners or former partners. All forms of domestic violence - psychological, financial, emotional and physical - come from the abuser's desire for power and control over an intimate partner or other family members. Domestic violence is repetitive and life-threatening, it tends to worsen over time and it destroys the lives of women and children.

Crime statistics and research show that domestic violence is gender specific - that is, it is most commonly experienced by women and perpetrated by men, particularly when there is a pattern of repeated and serious physical assaults, or when it includes rape or sexual assault or results in injury or death. Men can also experience violence from their partners (both within gay and straight relationships); however women's violence towards men is often an attempt at self defence, and is only rarely part of a consistent pattern of controlling and coercive behaviour. For this reason, we will generally refer to the abuser as 'he' and to the survivor as 'she'. See also Women and men, victims and survivors.

Domestic violence also has an enormous effect on the children in the family. Nearly three-quarters of children considered 'at risk' by Social Services are living in households where one of their parents/carers is abusing the other. A high proportion of these children are themselves being abused - either physically or sexually - by the same perpetrator. (Estimates vary between 30% to 66% depending upon the study.) See Children and domestic violence for more information.

The handbook is available in different languages:

The Survivor's Handbook - Arabic

The Survivor's Handbook - Bengali

The Survivor's Handbook - Turkish

The Survivor's Handbook - Polish
The Survivor's Handbook - Gujarati
The Survivor's Handbook - Urdu
The Survivor's Handbook - Chinese
The Survivor's Handbook - Punjabi
The Survivor's Handbook - Somali
The Survivor's Handbook - Greek
The Survivor's Handbook - Spanish

Consider these news stories:

Muslim Clerics Ignore The Abuse Of Women

A four-month inquiry by the Centre for Islamic Pluralism into domestic abuse has uncovered harrowing tales of women being raped, burnt by cigarettes and lashed with belts by their husbands, who believe it is their religious right to mistreat them.

At least 40 female Muslim victims and many social workers from northern England - including Bradford, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham - were interviewed as part of the inquiry, which is expected to be published next month.

View this story

Sikh Women Fight Violence

To empower women through increased awareness of their basic human rights and reflection on excerpts from the Guru Granth Sahib. "Domestic violence may be the most common source of serious injury to women. Recent research indicates that it results in more injuries requiring medical treatment in women than rape, auto accidents, and muggings combined."

View this story

Hindu Women And Domestic Violence

The incidence of domestic violence is higher for Hindu women than Muslim or Christian women, during pregnancy, according to a study published in the latest issue of Journal of Affective Disorders.

View this story

Do Jewish Men Really Do That?

Domestic Violence in the Jewish Community.

View this story

Back to top