What is honour-based violence?

Honour-based violence is a collection of practices which are used to control behaviour within families to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs.

It occurs when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family or community by breaking their honour code.

This subject encompasses a variety of offences including:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Assault
  • Abduction
  • Domestic abuse

Honour-based violence can occur in any community and can affect both men and women. All cases are handled with care and sensitivity in order to provide victims with the necessary support.

One of the most common and high profile forms of honour-based violence is the practice of forced marriage, where a couple is forced into a marriage without the valid consent of one or both of the parties. It is achieved by placing the victim under physical or emotional duress.

Further help and information

The police take reports of forced marriage very seriously and will work to protect and support the victim fully.

If you suspect you are going to be forced into marriage in the UK or be taken abroad to marry then please contact the police so they can help protect you and prevent this happening.

If you feel in immediate danger you should dial 999 immediately.

If you feel you are at risk, the police would prefer to speak to you on the phone (on 101) or in person. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired, you can textphone us on 18001 101.

If you don't feel confident speaking to the police there are lots of other agencies that can support you. A Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office initiative, the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) is dedicated to preventing British nationals being forced into marriage. They will need to talk to you on the phone to work out a plan of action. Their caseworkers are fully trained to deal with the emotional, cultural and social issues surrounding forced marriage. They can be contacted on 020 7008 0151.

Or, if you are concerned that someone you know is going to be taken abroad and forced into marriage you can apply for a Forced Marriage Prevention Order to be made.

See the gov.uk website for more details