Honour Based Abuse and Forced Marriage
Honour based abuse is a collection of practices used to control behaviour within the family and community in order to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour. Abuse can occur when perpetrators perceive that a person has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code.
Forced marriage is a serious abuse of human rights and is illegal in the UK. This includes taking someone overseas to force them to marry (whether the forced marriage takes place or not) and marrying someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they are pressured or not). In forced marriage, one or both spouses do not consent to the marriage and some element of duress is involved. Duress includes both physical and emotional pressure and abuse.
Forced marriage and honour-based abuse are primarily, but not exclusively, an issue of violence against females. Most cases involve young women and girls aged between 13 and 30, although there is evidence to suggest that as many as 15 per cent of victims are male. Both can constitute physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. The United Nations considers forced marriage a form of trafficking, sexual slavery, and exploitation. Some, however, still see these issues as a private, personal, domestic, family, religious, or cultural concerns.
All children have a right to protection, irrespective of race, colour, or culture. Addressing the issues of honour-based abuse and forced marriage are an integral part of child protection. The procedures below are aimed at dealing with honour-based abuse and forced marriage for a child or young person under 18 years of age.
Procedures and guidance
The Charity Karma Nirvana provides further information, training and education regarding this
form of crime. The organization also provides support to victims.
Karma Nirvana - National Hotline: 0800 5999247
Facebook: Saheli Ltd
The government also offers a free training course which has been developed with the Forced Marriage Unit of the Foreign Office and aims to raise awareness, challenge perceptions and inform you of the correct actions to take should you suspect someone is at risk.
Awareness of Forced Marriage E-Learning (external website) free course