‘Honour Based’ Violence is an umbrella term used to describe a broad range of behaviours perpetrated by individuals, groups or communities to control and punish a member of the family or social group, for behaviours that are perceived to go against those expected, bringing ‘dishonour’ to the family or community. The community, family or individuals within the family may use violence, threats, intimidation, and other forms of abuse to control or punish the person deemed to be transgressing.
It is estimated that there are 5000 honour killings a year worldwide. In the UK, it is reported that between 10 and 15 women are murdered every year. However, the real figure could be much higher as some killings may be planned in the UK but carried out abroad and the figure may not include cases where the victim has been pressured into suicide or the death has been made to look like suicide.
There is no standard definition of Honour Based Abuse (HBA). However, the National Police Chief Council (NPCC) have provided guidance and a definition to Police Forces:
“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”.National Police Chief Council
Honour Based Abuse is high-risk as it can involve multiple people conspiring against the victim and any authorities who may become involved. The perpetrators may even provide alibis for each other making it harder for the extent of the abuse or violence to be fully understood.
The highest victim group are Asian females, however HBA can happen in a range of different communities for many different reasons.
Listen to Amala’s story of so-called Honour Based Violence on the SafeLives podcast