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Refer a client


Program: Unfurl


What: A program that brings you into a space that allows you to relax, grow and unfurl. 

Sessions are designed to bring together a diverse set of individuals on different journeys that either mirror you or take you on inspiring tangents off the path you are on. We do this through craft, pottery, natural dye, Ikebana, zero-waste art, music, movement and dance.

Who: Unfurl is run by the Creatives Against Poverty team. We are a group of artists, creatives, musicians, theatre folk, writers, and accompaniment officers trained to work with the most vulnerable members of our society including asylum seekers and refugees, the homeless, high control family runaways and LGBTQI refugees. (These groups share the common theme that they are individuals fleeing persecution from families or communities who disagree with their ability to exercise free choice.) We are not healers nor are we trained councillors or psychotherapists, but rather creators of an environment that ignites the imagination, fuels curiosity, and allows us to forget our worries and move towards a place where we can heal. Together.

When: We use a scheduling system similar to a festival format. We schedule a holistic program that consists of creative activities (see 'What') alongside the opportunity for reflection and journaling time. Where necessary we are also in a position to consider providing accommodation so that you can attend the event. 

Where: Safe Space (CAP's main home in London, UK), outdoor venues (multiple locations).

Why: Healing doesn’t happen instantly. We all need to be given the time to unlearn the lessons of a broken childhood or traumatic experience and heal naturally. 


Unfurl wraps around a clients’ individual needs: in addition to group events it could involve accompanying clients to appointments and supporting them in problem-solving sessions, or just listening and serving as shield against loneliness.


The program gives clients and volunteers the space to meet on equal footing and to immerse together in craft or sports activities that relax them, allow them to forget pain, set aside anxiety and embrace wonder, curiosity and hope. 


Details of Unfiurl and Life Skills programs on our Emotional Recovery page


Why did CAP decide to focus Life Skills programs on HBA support? 


As we supported vulnerable individuals in our life skills programs across the UK, and internationally at refugee camps and post conflict zones, we trained teachers to unlock the potential of their students in deprived, insular minority ethnic communities. As we gathered feedback, we noticed a disturbing phenomenon. 


While we removed structural barriers to opportunity, using career and personality development tools, other obstacles became visible. These were more sinister: collective resistance from inside communities and families wanting to raise their daughters and sons obedient/timid enough to control their behaviour and impose outdated ideas of honour.


After confidence-building sessions, our volunteers were often asked “what do I do if my father, brother, husband, mother, uncle or son will not allow me to continue this program?”  Students disappeared into forced marriages, into the void of their parent’s countries of origin. Clients dropped out suddenly as they were seen as too outspoken in their own communities. 


We paused to reflect on setbacks/ disappointments and realised a was pattern emerging. We found that unspoken rules were preventing clients from accessing services, and as we pulled together community members and faith leaders, the ideas percolating in the discussions between these groups settled into the unjust sediment of honour-based abuse we could no longer ignore. We have a duty of care to the individuals dealing with HBA to be able to detect the signs and support their needs. 


We do not accept any funding of any sort. We operate on the good graces of those who donate time and skills while we provide the space and sustenance needed to help others Unfurl.


You can learn more about the stories of HBA survivors in our Survivor Stories, A briefing document that looks at the testimonies of four survivors of HBA.



What could trigger Honour Based Abuse for clients you support:

Behaviours that could be seen to shame a family/ community include:

  • Culturally inappropriate attitude, behaviour, make-up or what families feel is a provocative form of dressing 

  • The existence of a boyfriend/girlfriend or a perceived unsuitable relationship LGBTQI (in many of their parent’s languages there is no word to describe boyfriend, nor LGBTQI except derogatory words)

  • Rejecting an arranged or resisting a forced marriage, breaking off betrothal

  • Joining an exercise/ dance or sports class because excessive movement that “attracts attention or jiggles body parts is forbidden” (survivor-led advice)

  • Pregnancy outside of marriage

  • Being a victim of rape. The family will encourage silence, not justice for victim

  • Inter-faith relationships (or same faith, but different ethnicity or different denomination)

  • Kissing or intimacy in a public place. Even walking alone with a male can endanger a student

  • Alcohol and drugs use or eating pork. This does not need to be excessive use or substance abuse even trying a sip of beer can leave an individual in danger of disciplinary action/ violent punishment/ domestic or honour based abuse



Support agencies on the frontline of HBA support, who understand the complexities of high control communities


Karma Nirvana’s helpline assists thousands of HBA survivors rebuild their lives and move out of abusive situations, helping many escape Forced Marriage 

Call on 0800 5999 247.

Karma Nirvana's child marriage report stories


The Naz and Matt foundation fight Homophobia triggered by religion to help families accept their children


Women’s Aid: Support for those suffering Domestic Abuse and HBA 


Faith to Faithless understand the complexities behind those who leave faith and the dangers they face, depending on the communities they come from


A safe and liberating space for those who have spent their lives unable to say they have doubts about faith or beliefs held by their communities


Support for women dealing with culturally motivated or HBA abuse

LGBTQA+ support for asylum seekers and refugees

UK Government guidance on forced marriages




Honour Based Abuse survivors: what they endured and how they got help

Evening Standard reportage on HBA case Shafilea Ahmed

Honour Based Abuse through a real story of one police officer’s quest for justice over the brutal HBA killing of Banaz in London by her own family


Ted Talk by HBA survivor Karma Nirvana founder Jasvinder Sanghera


Traveller community member talks about HBA at the hands of husband and her own family


Hidden victims/survivors of Male HBA on the BBC



The story of courageous individuals who took on powerful institutions to find honour based abuse


A survivor of HBA and forced marriage speaks up at the University of Derby


How Karma Nirvana came up with a life-saving idea: spoons can save lives

Useful Documents:


Multi-Agency practice guidelines: handling cases of Forced Marriage:


Provides step-by-step advice for frontline workers


Multi-Agency statutory guidance for dealing with Forced Marriage:

Provides guidance for all persons and bodies who exercise public functions in relation to safeguarding

Multi-Agency practice guidelines for Forced Marriage and learning disabilities

Multi-Agency Statutory Guidance for Female Genital Mutilation 

Secret Killings: the role of mums in HBA

Empirical study show ow HBA is distinct form of Domestic Abuse , based on the relationship between victim and perpetrator/ existence of multiple aggressors

Secondary School resource for Spotting and Support those dealing with HBA

Safe Lives’ report on Honour Based Abuse and Domestic Abuse


Policing Research Partnership

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