Honour Based Abuse

What is Honour Based Abuse?

Honour Based Abuse is a violent crime, incident or other controlling method which may have been committed to protect or defend the honour or perceived cultural and religious beliefs of a family or community.

It is often linked to family members or acquaintances who mistakenly believe someone has brought shame to their family or community by doing something that is not in keeping with the traditional beliefs of their culture. For example, Honour Based Violence might be committed against people who:

  • become involved with a boyfriend or girlfriend from a different culture or religion
  • want to get out of an arranged marriage
  • want to get out of a forced marriage
  • wear clothes or take part in activities that might not be considered traditional within a particular culture

Honour Based Abuse cuts across all cultures, nationalities, faith groups and communities. Relatives, both male and females, may conspire, aid, abet or participate in Honour Based Abuse, for what might seem a trivial transgression.

Women and girls are the most common victims of Honour Based Abuse although it can affect men and boys, sometimes as a consequence of their involvement in what is deemed to be an inappropriate relationship or if they are gay, or if they are believed to be supporting the victim. Crimes of 'honour' do not always include violence. Crimes committed in the name of 'honour' might include:

  • domestic abuse
  • threats of violence
  • sexual or psychological abuse
  • forced marriage
  • being held against your will or taken somewhere you don't want to go
  • assault


What is Forced Marriage?

Forced marriage is carried out without the consent of both people. This is very different to an arranged marriage which both people will have agreed to. There is no religion that says it is right to force you into a marriage and you are not betraying your faith by refusing such a marriage.


Support for victims of Honour Based Abuse or Forced Marriage

You can find emotional and practical support by contacting Victims First on 0300 1234 148 or by contacting national support service Karma Nirvana on 0800 5999 247.

This support is available regardless of whether you report the crime to the police or not, however, if you or anyone you know is at risk of Honour Based Abuse or Forced Marriage than you can report it to the police at any time by calling 101 or in an emergency dial 999.

If you don’t want to speak directly to police you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111