Dr Hanna Begum wins Nazir Afzal Essay Competition

05/10/2021 by Sinead Staunton

The Nazir Afzal Essay Competition is organised by Honour Abuse Research Matrix (HARM) network each year and is named after British solicitor and former Chief Crown Prosecutor Nazir Afzal OBE. During his 25 year career, Nazir prosecuted some of the most high profile cases in the country and led nationally on topics such as violence against women and girls, child sexual abuse and honour based violence.

The annual competition aims to encourage quality research and writing on marginalised victimology themes, engage students and key stakeholders internationally in a creative way, as well as to drive a positive societal change. The question put to those who entered the competition was ‘COVID-19 presents new challenges to protecting and supporting victims of abuse during lockdown. What specific help-seeking challenges do Black or Asian heritage victims experience, and what measures do you suggest to better support them?’

Dr Hanna Begum, a Visiting Lecturer in Criminology at Newman University, entered the competition with her essay which focused on the unique structural and cultural barriers faced by Black and minority victims of domestic violence, with suggestions on how these might be addressed.

Dr Begum’s essay won first prize at the annual competition with Nazir Afzal OBE commenting: “There was one winner that stood out, who made me understand in ways that previously I hadn’t, the barriers that women face.”

With the topic being so prevalent in the news currently, essays and research such as Dr Begum’s is vitally important. Dr Begum comments “I was so honoured to win the first prize for my essay on the barriers and challenges Black and minoritised women face when experiencing domestic violence.  This is an important and timely area of research, particularly in light of the conversations we are now having around violence against women more broadly that require urgent policy attention.”

Read Dr Begum’s essay in full.