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‘Honour based abuse ’ is a term used to describe a variety of practices to control and punish the behaviour of a member of a family or a social group.  This is done to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs in the name of ‘honour’. 


Don’t forget! Male members of a family can also be victims. 

The National Police Chief Council use the following definition:


‘an incident or crime involving violence, threats of violence, intimidation, coercion or abuse (including psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse), which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of an individual, family and or community for alleged or perceived breaches of the family and / or community’s code of behaviour’.


There is currently no statutory or government recognised definition.


•The honour is based on a perceived set of codes of conduct and behaviour to be upheld, largely by women

•Any breaches or perceived breaches of these codes can result in abuse and/or murder

•Honour based abuse has nothing to do with religion; Perpetrators may try to justify their actions on religious grounds

•Honour related abuse is not a Muslim related phenomenon It occurs in differing forms in societies, religious communities, non-religious communities or national communities.

Honour Based Abuse is a form of domestic abuse and is often thought of as a ‘cultural’, ‘traditional’ or ‘religious’ problem.


It may affect people of all ages, but it begins early in the family home.

Which communities are affected?

Do not assume it is always a Muslim problem.  Honour Based Abuse is also prevalent in other communities including those from South Asia, the Middle East, North and East Africa.  It also includes those from Sikh, Hindu, Orthodox Jewish and sometimes from traveller communities. 


Both perpetrators and victims can be MALE or FEMALE.


Just because it may be a cultural tradition does not mean Honour Based Abuse is acceptable. Forced marriage, Honour Based Abuse and domestic abuse is illegal.

There is no honour in HBA

In honour-based abuse cases there are multiple perpetrators from the immediate family, sometimes the extended family and occasionally the community at large.


Women can be the driving force behind upholding the honour.


Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunties and even grandparents have been known to be involved in the conspiring of honour crimes

Women and girls are the most common victims, but it also affects men and boys.


The Victim is potentially at risk from everyone they know, and may not have anywhere to go for help.

no honour

• Murder  

• Threats to kill

•Inflicting physical injury – assaults  




•Abduction of Child  



•Forced marriage

•Perverting the course of justice  

•Female genital mutilation

•False Imprisonment

•Sexual Offences Act 1956 - Rape, indecent assault, rape of a child under 13

•Threats to destroy, criminal damage to property

•Child Destruction, Procuring a miscarriage

•Breaching non-molestation Order, Forced Marriage Protection Order


Listed by The Guardian as one of the world's 100 most Inspirational Women, Jasvinder Sanghera has been fighting forced marriages and honour based abuse -- both in her native Britain and internationally. The charity Karma Nirvana she founded in 1993 has helped establish several refuge centres for South Asian men and women fleeing forced marriages. Her commitment stems from personal experience, after running away from home fourteen years old, faced with the prospect of a forced marriage.

Fighting forced marriages and honour based abuse | Jasvinder Sanghera | TEDxGöteborg – YouTube

Useful Contacts

Forced Marriage Unit

Telephone: 020 7008 0151

From overseas: +44 (0)20 7008 0151

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Out of hours: 020 7008 1500 (ask for the Global Response Centre)

Karma Nirvana 08005999247


REFUGE 0800 085 3481


National FGM Centre

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