Bal Kaur Howard
Forced Marriage/Honour Based Violence/FGM and Radicalisation Expert
Bal has been advocating on the issues of BME women and men on domestic violence, honour based crimes (Forced Marriage & Female Genital Mutilation) since 2008.
Bal has developed and delivers training for front-line practitioners in Health, Social Care, Police, Education and the voluntary sector throughout the England and Wales in the subjects of Domestic Abuse, Risk Assessment, Honour Based Abuse, Forced Marriage, Female Genital Mutilation, Radicalisation / Extremism, Modern Day Slavery, Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and Addiction.
Bal is trained to deliver "My Dangerous Loverboy" - an excellent tool she uses with students (year 9 upwards) and professionals to talk about "healthy relationships" as part of the PHSE sessions in schools.
Bal was employed by Suffolk Constabulary for 7½ years as a Project & Performance Officer for Honour Based Violence (Forced Marriage, Female Genital Mutilation) in a countywide Domestic Abuse Unit. She was responsible for developing policies, procedures and training for police officers and partner agencies to enhance the service to victims and potential victims. For 3 years she was based within the CSE / Child Investigation Abuse Unit.
Bal was born in India and was brought to Britain aged one. She was forced into marriage at the age of 17 in Darlington and forced to sponsor her husband for permanent residency in the UK.
Bal went back to education at the age of 26 after escaping from her forced marriage and subsequently has been disowned by her family for over 20 years.
Bal is keen to share her experiences, being the voice of the victims and survivors who experience crimes rooted in the name of honour, giving practical and emotional support. She raises awareness with agencies to reduce the isolation of victims and to increase reporting. In Bal's words "I refuse to take my past into the future and regard myself to be an empowered survivor- my darkest past is now my greatest asset".
Bal was a volunteer with Karma Nirvana from December 2007 to December 2008 after reading Jasvinder Sanghera's book "Shame". Her experience is also featured in Jasvinder’s 2nd book “Daughters of Shame”.
Bal has been nominated twice at the IKWRO True Honour Awards (2012 & 2014) and she completed her Award in Education and Training Level 3 (formerly PTLLS) in 2014.