What is Bright Choices

Bright Choices is a partnership service between Sacro, the Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council (ELREC) and the Multicultural Family Base. We help men, women, children, families and communities who experience difficult relationships. These difficulties can stem from disagreements about how people are supposed to dress, behave, who to marry, how to treat their children, about finishing education, and who they are allowed to be friends with.

All of these issues above are often referred to as ‘honour-based conflicts’ or in more serious situations, ‘honour-based violence (HBV)’.

The Bright Choices service is here to help you stay safe by offering you free and confidential support services. To find out more, please have a look around this website, or call us on 0131 622 7500.

79 individuals benefited from bright choices support

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Stats of people accessing bright choices support

What is ‘Honour’ and ‘Honour based violence (HBV)’?

Honour is often described as the ‘unwritten book of rules’ by which we all live. Depending on our heritage, for some people this code can be a lot stricter than for others. This is often, the case for people who come from migrant communities, or who are from a religious or traditional family or community.

22 new referrals for two individuals and 20 families to receive support
700 high school pupils attended workshops on human rights and honor-based violence

‘Honour’ can mean many different things, but it is mostly to do with modesty and traditional rules about acceptable gender roles, behaviour and lifestyle. If people move away from what is considered ‘acceptable’, then they are often punished for this behaviour-and this is what we mean by ‘Honour Based Violence’.

Sometimes people are thought to behave ‘dishonourably’ if they…

  • dress in Western clothes instead of traditional or religious clothes
  • are in a relationship with someone from a different community or someone their family does not approve of
  • refuse to go through with a marriage arrangement made by his/her family
  • want to get a divorce but their family insist that they should stay married
  • disagree with their family or community about how they want to live their lives
  • compared to what their family wants
  • do not want to raise their children in the same way that they were raised

These are only a few examples of behaviours that people consider ‘honourable’. These can be more or less strict depending on the family or the community, and not everyone will be affected to the same extent. Sometimes people take honour for granted so much that they may not realise that they can have a say in how to live their lives. Bright Choices is here to help evryone understand what is happening to them and to support them to make informed decisions.

176 sessions of support were provided in people's homes

Who do we work with?

We work with any individual, family or community who is affected by issues of honour and honour based violence. It can be someone who has survived abuse because he/she was thought to betray his/her honour or someone who might be at risk of punishment for this reason. The support we offer is strictly confidential and suitable for individuals, families and communities at a venue that is safe and appropriate for them to access.

Who can access Bright Choices?

Any individual or family affected by issues of honour and honour abuse can refer to Bright Choices or they can be referred by a friend, relative or a professional such as a teacher, social worker, mental health practitioner, GP etc. Depending on the specific situation, we can offer a variety of different services as well as signpost or refer them to additional services that can be helpful.

How long will it take before the service starts?

This will depend on how quickly we receive a referral, and how quickly we can make contact to arrange our initial meeting. As soon as we are clear on what the situation is and what support is most appropriate, we will start offering the service as soon as possible. How long the service takes to start will depend on the person’s availability, although we aim to see people as quickly as possible.

WHAT TO EXPECT

  • First Contact

    The first step is for us to receive a referral form for you. This can come from you, a friend, a family member or a professional that you work with. In this form, we will ask for some basic information about who you are, how to contact you and your hopes of what you want to achieve through using our service.

    When we receive the referral form, we will then get in touch with you and arrange to meet you in person for a first appointment.

  • First appointment

    Our first appointment will be arranged for a time and location that is suitable for you. This could be in one of our offices, your home, somewhere in the community, your school or college, or wherever you feel happy to meet with us.

    The meeting will be informal and friendly, and you will meet with one of our experienced and friendly staff members who will ask you for some more specific information on your life situation, for example who you live with, the people you trust, a little bit about how you came to Bright Choices and any specific risks we need to know about. 

  • Service

    Based on this conversation, the worker will then explain to you a little bit about each service and discuss with you what kind of support would be most helpful to you. It does not have to be only one service-it might be most helpful to you to access a variety of services, both inside Bright Choices but also externally. This is something for you to decide during this meeting, and possibly think about afterwards. We will not pressure you to make a decision on the spot, but we will offer you your options and explain the different services you can access.