'Honour' Based Abuse

The majority of victims of honour-based abuse (HBA) are women and girls, although it can include male victims too. It is also referred to as honour-based violence (HBV) or so called honour-based abuse/violence. HBA occurs when family members or friends believe that the victim has brought shame to the family or community; the shame can be defined as something that is not in keeping with traditionally held cultural beliefs of the family. HBA can occur if the person at risk has refused or is trying to leave a forced or arranged marriage; it might happen if the person has a pregnancy outside of marriage, is involved in a same sex relationship, chooses to dress in non-traditional clothing, wears make up or meets with someone from outside the culture or religion of the family. Reasons for HBA can include socialising with friends or doing activities that are not considered suitable within the family’s belief system.

HBA can include:

  • Physical violence
  • Threats of death or violence
  • Sexual abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Being held against their will or not allowed to leave the home
  • Forced to leave education
  • Forced repatriation
  • Abusive phone calls, emails, texts or other use of social media

This list is not exhaustive.

HBA can exist in communities where there is a hierarchical system which places men in a position of power over women and girls. It can include women from the traveller community, South Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South and Eastern Europe, women from the Kurdish community and Turkey, amongst others. This list is not definitive.

If HBA is suspected, it should be reported to the Police in order to protect the victim.

Further Resources