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Support for 'honour' violence in poll

One in five young British Asians believes that physical punishment is acceptable for women who bring "dishonour" on a family, a BBC survey has claimed.

Some 18 per cent of the 500 people questioned for the BBC Panorama poll believed that violence against women was justified in circumstances where family honour was at stake.

Behaviour that might warrant violence included disobeying a father, marrying someone unsuitable or wanting to leave a pre-arranged marriage, respondents said.

Young Asians living in Britain aged between 16 and 34 were consulted.

Sixty-nine per cent agreed that families should live according to a concept of honour. Among men, the figure rose to 75 per cent.

Six per cent of young British Asian men, and 3 per cent of young Asians in total, said that so-called "honour killings" could be justified.

The research, conducted by ComRes on behalf of the BBC, comes amid warnings that many instances of "honour crime" go unreported.

Nazir Afzal, a chief prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "We don't know the true figure of honour killings. It's anything between 10 and 12 a year in this country. I don't know how many other unmarked graves there are in our green and pleasant land."

Campaigners called for community leaders to give "real leadership" in standing up to crimes committed in the name of the traditional honour code, known as "Izzat" in Urdu.