An offer of new identities to women fleeing the threat of so-called honour killings could potentially save hundreds of lives in Birmingham, according to a charity set up to help victims.
Jasvinder Sanghera, who set up Karma Nirvana after she survived a forced marriage, said she has to fight to get girls into a witness protection scheme and has not managed it yet.
The Association of Chief Police Officers said the schemes should be opened to potential victims of family violence.
Ms Sanghera said: “I welcome the recommendation but this needs to be a must-do by police forces, not a should-do.”
Victims from the Birmingham area make up a high proportion of the charity’s calls and staff believe they are just “the tip of the iceberg”.
In July 2007, Iraqi Kurd Mahmod Mahmod was jailed for life over the rape and torture of his 20-year-old daughter Banaz Mahmod, whose body was found buried in a suitcase in a garden in Handsworth.
Her death was ordered after her affair with a fellow Kurd was discovered. Ms Mahmod asked police for help four times but it was claimed she was not taken seriously.
Ms Sanghera said she tried to get witness protection for one young girl whose father threatened her with a firearm if she ran away from home.
She said: “He told her he would not be afraid to use it and she was openly telling the police ‘I need witness protection’.
“As a result of that we’ve had to deal with it ourselves. We’ve changed her name by deed poll and made her national insurance number case-sensitive because we know families track these girls down through the numbers.
“Some girls stay and go through abusive situations because they don’t have that protection sadly.”
The recommendations come in the first strategy for tackling honour-based violence across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Commander Steve Allen, of the Metropolitan Police, said up to 12 people were murdered every year in the name of honour.
Police fear a further 500 people are forced into an arranged marriage and are raped, attacked or falsely imprisoned as a result.
Mr Allen said: “The police response to this issue has nothing to do with political correctness and nothing to do with inappropriate sensitivities.
“The police response is about saving life, protecting those at risk of harm and bringing perpetrators to account.
“We have an absolute duty to uphold the law and to protect the human rights of our fellow human beings.”
The strategy for honour-based violence sets out how police aim to ensure the safety of victims and to bring those responsible to justice.
Among its recommendations are calls for all incidents of honour violence to be recorded and better risk assessment for potential victims.
It comes just weeks before the Forced Marriage (civil protection) Act 2007 strengthens the law on forced marriage and other forms of honour-based violence.
Mr Allen said police must do better to give all victims the confidence to come forward.
He said: “The new strategy builds on work already done and is a clear statement of intent by the police service that we will do everything in our power, working alongside our communities, to keep people safe and end these abuses.”
Home Office Minister Alan Campbell said: “We have always been very clear that there is no place in our society for so-called honour-based violence.
“We want to encourage victims to come forward and report their concerns and this strategy will protect them by enabling police to better identify and investigate these horrific crimes.”
He said the Government’s Forced Marriage Unit deals with about 400 calls a year.
“But we know that the true scale of the problem remains hidden,” Mr Campbell said. “That is why we recently held a series of road shows across the country to raise awareness within local communities.
“We have partly funded a new national helpline for victims and next month the Civil Protection Act will come into force, which will give courts further powers to protect victims from this appalling practice.”