GET IN TOUCH : 01484 821 500

Honour based violence is an umbrella term used to describe practices which punishes individuals for their disobedience. Victims of honour based violence are often abused by the closest people to them such as family members for bringing what they feel is dishonour and humiliation upon their family. It is often motivated by culture, religion, or patriarchy and is often committed more in cultures with strict views on subjects like sex, relationships, and gender roles. Abuse can take place when abusers believe that a person has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code and is a means of controlling an individual.

Honour based violence is predominantly committed against women and girls, the perpetrators being their family or community members. It may be committed against a woman due to;refused marriage proposal, failure to submit to a desired dress code, request for a divorce, failing to become pregnant, getting pregnant, a forbidden relationship and pushing for children after a divorce however this is not an exhaustive list. In some cultures women are deemed property of their parents until they get married, to which they then become property of their husband and any behaviour that jeopardises this norm can result in honour based violence thriving.

Men and boys can also be victims of honour based violence due to involvement in what is considered in their culture to be an inappropriate relationship for example; they are gay, believed to be supporting a victim of honour based violence, commenced a relationship outside of marriage or commenced a relationship outside the accepted class, religion, ethnicity, or caste. Members of the LGBTQ+ are at an increased risk from honour based violence as their identity may be reprehensible.

Abusers feel like they need to restore approval from their community and other family members by punishing the victim which is why honour based violence is often committed.

Honour based violence can take form in some of the following ways:

  • Threats or verbal abuse.
  • Family disownment, isolation, or restrictions of freedom.
  • Control.
  • Sexual or physical abuse, forced pregnancy and neglect.
  • Forced marriage.
  • Kidnapping.
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM); and
  • Murder.

In the year of 2019/2020 police in England and Wales recorded 2,024 incidents of honour based abuse in the UK, 74 of these offences were Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) offences and 140 were forced marriages. Unfortunately, not all police forces are adequately resourced to deal with honour-based crime within the UK. However, charities such as True Honour offer training to the police and other professionals based on forced marriages, honour based violence and FGM.

As referred to above there are numerous triggers that can result in honour based violence such as divorce, adultery, rejectingforced marriage , interrelationship relationships, loss of virginity, sex or pregnancy out of marriage, pronouncing faith or coming out as homosexual, bisexual or transgender, however this is not an exhaustive list of triggers and can be any form of disobedience.

If you or someone you know is being subject to honour based violence there are some of the signs to look for:

1) There seems to be an element of surveillance by the victim’s family or community for example are they brought to and from work, not able to travel in public transport alone or with friends, do they may receive a number of phone calls from their spouse or family member?

2) Significant personality changes.

3) The victim comes from somewhere where honour is embedded in the culture.

4) Evidence of abuse such as bruises or frequent ‘accidents ‘or dressing unusually to disguise injuries.

Cases of Honour Based Violence

Samaira Nazir 2005 a 25 year old graduate and recruitment consultant was murdered after she tried to escape her family home following plans for her to marry a Asylum Seeker from Afghanistan. Her brother dragged her into a house where his distant cousin assisted in holding her down whilst she was stabbed to death. Samaira was stabbed 18 times and her throat was cut. Both individuals were sentenced to life in prison in 2006.

Awais Akram was left severely disfigured in 2009 by the woman’s brother when it was found he was having a liaison with a married woman. He was beaten, stabbed and had sulphuric acid poured over his head leaving him with 47% burns.

Surjit Athwal a 27-year-old Sikh customs officer disappeared after going to a family wedding in India in 1998. Her mother-in-law ordered her death at a family meeting after discovering that Surjit wanted a divorceand was having an affair.

If you or someone you know needs advice, support, or guidance for any type of honour based violence True Honour offer their assistance and can be contacted on 07480 6217110 or email at Alternatively, Refuge have been assisting domestic abuse victims since 1971 and their helpline is 0808 2000 247, which is operated 24 hours day.

Ramsdens can assist victims in cases of honour based violence. Please contact 01484 821 500 or make an enquiry on our website to receive a free 30-minute consultation.

If you believe you or someone you know is in immediate damager of harm, then please report it to the police on 999 or alternatively report any non-emergencies to 101.