“Honour” based or related violence
Domestic violence or other forms of violence perpetrated in the name of religious and cultural ideas of so called ‘family honour’.
Family members - including females - may conspire and participate in harming or even killing the victim. The element of pre-planning and the involvement of a group of people, make this a distinct form of domestic violence. Sometimes agents are used by the family to track down victims who have fled or worse, contract killers are employed.
Victims face great danger - forced marriage, abduction, rape, arson, assaults and murder. Targets for honour crime may run away from home, including young people who can then face further dangers.
Evidence shows that where murders occur, most often wives are murdered by their husbands and daughters by their fathers.
Honour Based Violence (HBV) cuts across all cultures and communities: Turkish, Kurdish, Afghani, South Asian, African, Middle Eastern, South and Eastern European . It could be found in strict Orthodox Jewish communities or the travelling community. This is not an exhaustive list.
HBV is often a child protection issue. Children and young people can be at risk of serious harm.
Males can also be victims, sometimes as a consequence of their involvement in what is deemed to be an inappropriate relationship, if they are gay or if they are believed to be helping the victim.
What is meant by “Honour”?
In this case, “honour” refers to the reputation and social standing of an individual, a family or a community and is based mostly on the behaviour and morality of its female members. Hints or rumours of immoral behaviour may be enough to cause shame.
An act does not become ‘shameful’ or ‘dishonourable’ until it becomes public knowledge.
Examples of behaviour deemed to cause “shame”:
- Defying parental authority
- Inappropriate make-up or clothes
- A girl friend or boy friend regarded as an “outsider”
- Women having sex/relationships before marriage
- Rejecting a forced marriage
- Pregnancy outside of marriage
- Leaving a spouse or seeking divorce
- Kissing or intimacy in a public place
- Use of drugs or alcohol
- Coming out as Gay or Lesbian
Shame and therefore, the risk to a victim, may continue long after the incident regarded as dishonourable happened. This means a victim’s new partner, children, friends and even siblings can be at risk.
Incidents that may be risk indicators of HBV :
- Forced marriage
- Domestic violence
- Attempts to separate or divorce
- Starting a new relationship
- Threats to kill or denial of access to children
- Pressure to go abroad
- House arrest and excessive restrictions
- Denial of access to the telephone, internet, passport and friends
- For a young person – conflicts with parents over appearance, career plans, dating, friendships and social habits such as drinking or going to clubs.
All disclosures of forced marriage and HBV should be viewed as high risk.
For those under 18, it is a child protection concern – the Police and Children’s Social Care must be notified.
For an adult who may not have the capacity to protect themselves due to disability or illness, that person must be protected through a safeguarding adults referral and the involvement of the Police
Practitioners can refer victims of forced marriage and HBV to the Multi-agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) where different organisations will work together to offer protection and support. The Police should be notified.
Are you scared of being a victim of honour based violence?
Contact the Police on “999”, tell them the danger you are facing and ask for safe accommodation.
Ring the 24 hour confidential and free national or local domestic abuse help lines for advice and get information about refuges.
National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247
Tameside Women’s Project Helpline: 0800 328 0967
Contact the Forced Marriage Unit:
Forced Marriage Unit
Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)
Tel: 0207 008 0151
If you are under 18 years you can do all of this but in addition, talk to a teacher or college tutor. You can contact Children’s Social Care on 0161 342 4150