Honour Based Abuse and Forced Marriage

Honour based assault (HBA) is a crime. HBA describes acts committed to control behaviour within families or the community to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs or honour (‘Izzat’). It is often linked to family members who believe someone has brought shame to their family or community by doing something that is not in keeping with their beliefs. Victims may be subjected to the following types of abuse in the name of ‘honour:

  • threats of violence
  • emotional abuse
  • forced marriage
  • being held against your will or taken somewhere you don’t want to go
  • assault.

Women and girls are the most common victims of honour based assault however it can also affect men and boys.

A forced marriage is when one or both spouses do not consent to the marriage, or consent is extracted through duress. It is different to an arranged marriage where the couple may choose whether or not they wish to accept the partnership. Forced marriage is a crime. It is also an abuse of human rights. It is a crime and anyone found guilty can face up to seven years in prison

HBA and forced marriage warning signs can include:

  • Poor attendance and performance at school or work
  • Being withdrawn from school or banned from working
  • Depression, self harm, attempted suicide, eating disorders and substance misuse
  • Other family members going missing, forced to marry early or running away from home
  • Domestic violence, female genital mutilation, unreasonable restrictions eg ‘house arrest’
  • Minor criminal involvement or substance misuse.

Help is available if you or anyone at risk is concerned about HBA and forced marriage: