So-called ‘honour’-based violence

Women, girls, men and boys may become victims of so-called ‘honour’-based violence. If this has happened to you or if you are worried that you – or someone you know – might be at risk, remember that you are not alone. There is support available.

What is ‘honour’-based violence?

There is no specific offence of ‘honour’–based violence. However, the CPS describes ‘honour’-based violence as an incident or crime “which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and or the community.” ‘Honour’ can be the motivation, excuse or justification behind a range of violence against women and girls.

You may recognise ‘honour’ as Izzat, Ghairat, Namus or Sharam.

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Examples of ‘honour’-based violence:

Forced marriage
Domestic violence (physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse)
• Sexual harassment and sexual violence (threat of/ actual rape and sexual assault)
• Threats to kill
• Social ostracism/rejection and emotional pressure
• Denial of access to children
• Pressure to go or move abroad
• House arrest and excessive restrictions on your freedom
• Denial of access to the telephone, internet, passport and friends

You could be a victim of ‘honour’-based violence if you feel threatened or are abused when you try to:

• Separate or divorce
• Start a new relationship
• Talk to or interact freely with men
• Become pregnant or give birth outside of marriage
• Have interfaith relationships or marry outside a specified religion
• Have sex before marriage
• Marry a person of your own choice
• Access higher education without approval of your family

If you are victim of ‘honour’-based violence, please call The Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247 (run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge).

You can also contact the Forced Marriage Unit on fmu@fco.gov.uk / 020 7008 0151