Coference session at IPVI 2017 (University of Jyväskylä): Violent crimes and honour in Finland: Preventive measures and legislation.


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Symposium 2017: Collectivity, Honour and Family. Between Preventive Measures and Criminal Law


The symposium brings together experts in various fields to discuss policing, punishing and perceiving violence in the context of family and honour. We are especially excited to learn more about how cases of honour-related violence can be recognized in the legal system(s) and police work, and what kind of intersectional aspects regarding gender, ethnicity, collectivity and culture could support preventive measures.



Jenny Lehtinen, senior detective constable, Helsinki Police Department (special unit for investigation of domestic violence).

Honour-related crimes, a new challenge for the Finnish police?


By law, the main tasks of the Finnish Police are to prevent and investigate crimes. To successfully do so, the Police needs, among other things, knowledge on how criminal deeds and behavior occur. It is also highly useful to understand the dynamics of different types of crime.


The investigation of honour-related crimes is not nationally organized in Finland, which means that the local police departments – as well as smaller units within these different departments – decide independently how to arrange the investigation of such crimes. In Helsinki Police Department the honor-related violence is primarily investigated in a special unit, which focuses on investigating domestic violence and crimes within the family.


The Ministry of the Interior concluded in their report in 2011 that the Finnish authorities need to be educated in order to recognize honor-related crimes and thereby be able to undertake the right measurements in the investigation. Yet, and as the lecture argues, these issues are still among the biggest challenges for the Finnish Police today.



Angie Marriott, LLB Hons. MSc., registered nurse, Diversity Employment Solutions Ltd.

Policing Honour Based Violence in the UK


The prevalence of honour based violence (HBV) is currently on the increase in the UK. Statistics between 2010–2014 revealed that 11,000 HBV crimes were recorded (HMIC, 2014). In addition, there are about 12 honour related killings each year. As a consequence of two high profile HBV murder cases, the case of Shafilea Ahmed, and Banaz Mahmod, media interest has heightened here in the UK. HBV is receiving the attention it deserves, and remains a priority on the UK political and social agenda.


Police failings arising from the death of Banaz Mahmod led to improvement in the overall management of HBV and forced marriage (FM) by the police. The emergence of the Assistant Chief Police Constable (ACPO) honour based violence strategy was designed and implemented to improve police handling of HBV related crimes.


This presentation examines and critiques the cases of Banaz Mahmod and Shafilea Ahmed. It explores the evolvement and development of UK policy and legislation. It will then go on to consider policy and legislation developed within the framework of gender based violence in the UK by critiquing its overall effectiveness. Finally, examples of good practice will be presented that include the endorsement of multi-agency partnership working and scrutiny of interventions that are effective and deliver positive outcomes for potential victims and survivors.



Thomas Walle, PhD, The Museum Foundation of Sogn & Fjordane County.

Masculinity, ethnicity and intersectionality – Heuristic devices, or analytic muddle?


In my talk, I will look critically into some concepts that are central in research, policies and programmes aimed at understanding and countering violence. Drawing on my research among Pakistani descendants in Norway, and experience gathered from various positions promoting gender equality, I will discuss how these concepts may bring our work further, and whether there are risks of essentialisation. What do we set out to understand when masculinity is employed as analytic tool, and what escapes analysis when gender identification is seen as a consequence of ethnicity? Is intersectionality, with its analytic focus on discrimination and oppression, well suited as a perspective to engage men and boys in equality work? Or should we rethink the concept, putting structural privileging at the centre? While no definite solutions are given, my hope is that the talk will stimulate an inspiring conversation about important issues.



Commentator: Camilla Haavisto is assistant professor in minority studies at Åbo Akademi University in Turku, Finland. She holds a doctorate in communication. Her research interests include especially anti-racist  organising, minority claims-making and the politics of listening in the context of hybrid media environments.


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Symposium 2016: Domestic Violence and Intersectionality. Between Gender, Ethnicity and Collectivity


Recent and on-going societal changes in Finland, like in many other European countries, have led to an increasing need to reconsider the functionality of legal systems. Especially the combination of multiculturalization, attitudinal changes and shortage of economic resources challenge the interpretation and implementation of human rights and criminal justice. The constellation demands a better recognition of various intersectional elements: not only the impact of gender but ethnicity and cultural structures such as collectivity vs. individuality have to be included into the attempts to understand the dynamics of domestic violence.


The research project "Collective Gendered Violence from Preventive and Punitive Perspective", lead by Satu Lidman and Tuuli Hong, aims at interdisciplinary discussions on violence by combining the approaches of criminal law, human rights and preventative aspects. Collective gendered violence, for example in the form of honour-related violence, is a topical issue also in Finland. However, Finland could – and should – learn from experiences of other countries such as UK and Sweden.


The symposium offers a platform to discuss and study how existing juridical and societal mechanisms could and have been utilized in violence prevention and criminal processing of domestic violence. Due to the concerns regarding the incapacity of the Finnish judicial system to provide justice for the victims of collective gendered violence and other types of domestic violence equally, the symposium seeks for fresh and more effective ways to tackle this kind of violence in preventive and punitive perspectives.



Roxanne Khan

Examining ‘Honor’-Based Violence through a psychological lens: The influence of individualism vs collectivism on perceptions in Europe and South Asia


Estimated at one homicide a month, Britain has the highest number of ‘honour’ killings in Europe. Nonetheless, ‘Honour’-Based Violence (HBV) in vulnerable populations is overlooked in the psychological literature. In Britain,victims are typically young, South Asian females, yet studies using representatives from this group (either from native populations or diasporic communities in Europe) are rare. In this talk, I will present findings from our UK study of British-Asians to provide an insight into HBV victimisation. Additionally, findings from our multinational studies of South-Asians (resident in Pakistan, India, Iran, and Malaysia) and White-Europeans (living in Portugal, Cyprus and Britain) demonstrate the influence of collectivist/individualist attitudes that supportthe use of violence to uphold family honour. Recommendations for policy, practice, and further research will be discussed to consider how to safeguard vulnerable populations from HBV.


Dr. Roxanne Khan (University of Central Lancashire, UK) is a Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology, a Chartered Psychologist and Research Scientist, with over 13 years’ experience of working with offenders and victims of violence in secure and community settings. She maintains a long-standing research interest in family and community violence, including the psychology of 'honour'-based violence, intimate partner violence, child and adult sexual abuse. Her research explores the influence of psychosocial factors on the perpetration of physical aggression, including personality disorder, internalised beliefs, attitudes and culture. Dr. Khan regularly authors peer-reviewed book chapters, journal articles, and conference presentations for international audiences. She serves as sub-editor of one journal, and is a reviewer for numerous high-impact, international journals.



Anu Isotalo

Moral Topographies of Honor and Shame: Young Somali Women, Agency and Social Control


In Somali culture, honor is one of the corner stones of social status of the family and the members of the family. Girls and young women have a significant role in maintaining this honor by behaving modestly in public sphere. These interpretations in the presentation are based on my ethnographic PhD research among Somali girls and women in Turku during 2003–2006 (Isotalo 2015). I will analyse meanings of honor and reputation in the everyday lives of young Somali women from the viewpoints of agency and social control. First, I will explore descriptions of morally appropriate and inappropriate socio-spatial behaviour for young women in public space, i.e. places at the town centre. Second, I will examine ethnic moral topographies – what kinds of moral comparisons were made between free time activities of young Somali women and young Finnish women. Third, I will investigate the moral topographies of decent and indecent behaviour of young Somali women in Turku and in Helsinki, as interpreted by the interviewees.


Dr. Anu Isotalo (The Finnish Youth Research Network, Finland) is a post-doctoral researcher currently working in the project ’General Negotiations, Social Control and Gendered Sexualities’ (GENESO) financed by The Academy of Finland. In her doctoral dissertation ’What are Good Girls Made of? Somali Girls and Meanings of Reputation’ (written in Finnish: Mistä on hyvät tytöt tehty? Somalitytöt ja maineen merkitykset) Isotalo examined what kinds of girls were considered as having a good reputation, and how the girls might lose their reputation (Isotalo 2015). On one hand the research explored the significance of social networks in defining the girls’ reputation; on the other hand the focus was on how Somali girls and young women themselves considered the expectations related to reputation, and how they operated with the awareness of these expectations.




Sanna Mustasaari

Marriage, freedom and consent: From rigid definitions to spheres of critical agency


Human rights aim to guarantee the recognition of the equal worth of human beings and to address wrongs that follow from the hierarchies that occupy the diverse social spheres in which our lives are situated. Safeguarding human agency, i.e. the capacity of individuals to make choices and to act in the world, is thus particularly urgent in settings where dependencies, responsibilities and the good of the whole community take precedence over rights, formal roles and self-centred modes of action. Despite the trend of liberalization in family law, recognition of intimate relationships and agency within them still rests largely on formal indicators and statutory modes of regulation. In my presentation, I discuss why and to what extent this might be a hindrance to substantive equality. I begin by looking at some of the particularities that are characteristic to Finland and its minorities. From these premises I make an effort towards mapping means that in this local context might bear promise of abolishing harmful practices instead of merely replacing them with other forms of oppression. My presentation is based on an ongoing PhD research on family law and mobility as well as other research projects and preliminary findings in them.


Sanna Mustasaari (Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki, Finland) is a doctoral student in law. Her doctoral research 'Reframing recognition: Transnational families, belonging and law' studies the recognition of family relationships and regulation of family life on the fields of family law, private international law and migration law. Mustasaari is a member of the AF project Transnational Muslim Marriages: Wellbeing, Law and Gender at the Department Social Research, University of Helsinki.



Commentator: Lisa Grans (Åbo Akademi University, Finland) is PhD Candidate in Public International Law. She is doing research on the state obligation to prevent honour-related violence, with particular focus on the right to private life and the prohibition of torture. She has worked in the human rights area for some 20 years, mainly on issues related to gender-based violence and other forms of discrimination.