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Honour Based Violence, FGM & Forced Marriage

Honour based violence

There is no specific offence of “honour based crime”. It is an umbrella term to encompass various offences covered by existing legislation. … “‘Honour based violence‘ is a crime or incident which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community.”

‘Honour’ based violence (HBV) is a form of domestic abuse which is perpetrated in the name of so called ‘honour’. The honour code which it refers to is set at the discretion of male relatives and women who do not abide by the ‘rules’ are then punished for bringing shame on the family. Infringements may include a woman having a boyfriend; rejecting a forced marriage; pregnancy outside of marriage; interfaith relationships; seeking divorce, inappropriate dress or make-up and even kissing in a public place.

HBV can exist in any culture or community where males are in a position to establish and enforce women’s conduct, examples include: Turkish; Kurdish; Afghani; South Asian; African; Middle Eastern; South and Eastern European; Gypsy and the travelling community (this is not an exhaustive list).

Males can also be victims, sometimes as a consequence of a relationship which is deemed to be inappropriate, if they are gay, have a disability or if they have assisted a victim.  In addition, the Forced Marriage Unit have issued guidance on Forced Marriage and vulnerable adults due to an emerging trend of cases where such marriages involving people with learning difficulties.

This is not a crime which is perpetrated by men only, sometimes female relatives will support, incite or assist. It is also not unusual for younger relatives to be selected to undertake the abuse as a way to protect senior members of the family. Sometimes contract killers and bounty hunters will also be employed.

CPS Guidance for Honour Based Violence & Forced Marriage

Forced Marriage and FGM Protection Orders 7 Minute Briefing

Why risk assessment?

Perhaps the most famous case of ‘honour’-based violence (HBV) in this country remains the 2008 murder of Banaz Mahmood. And that’s because Banaz’s case really stirred things up. It drove the police to overhaul their response and write the first national HBV policing policy. The major failing in the police response to Banaz’s request for help was that they did not understand the context and therefore the risk signs of HBV. Consequently, they thought that her assessment of the threat to her own life was “hysterical” and unfounded. Her brutal murder a few days later showed just how misguided this was.

A key aim of risk assessment is to identify the contexts of abuse and help understand the threats to the victim. It enables professionals to help the victim safety-plan, manage risks and access the right interventions. Risk tools such as the 24-question DASH-RIC (used by police and domestic abuse services in England and Wales) draw on research from previous cases, and what victims say, to develop a checklist of questions professionals can ask to assess risk.

DASH Risk Assessment and Guidance

Safe Lives- Honour Based Violence Support

SafeLives Insights data published as part of the current Spotlight on ‘honour’-based violence and forced marriage shows that HBV cases were more likely to score high-risk (68%) than non-HBV domestic abuse cases (55%).

Female Genital Mutlilation (FGM)

What is FGM?

Female Genital Mutilation is the partial or complete removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is mostly carried out – without anesthetic – on girls between infancy and age 15. FGM has zero health benefits and often results in lifelong health problems, increased risks during childbirth, psychological trauma, and even death.

Often rationalized as a rite of passage into womanhood, in reality FGM is an extreme form of violence used to control girls’ and women’s sexuality. It involves a mixture of cultural, social and religious traditions associated with preparing for adulthood and marriage, and ideals of community, modesty and fidelity. Most instances occur in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, but FGM is also practiced in Australia, Europe, Latin America, New Zealand and North America.

Getting help and support

All women and girls have the right to control what happens to their bodies and the right to say no to FGM.  Help is available if you’ve had FGM or you’re worried that you or someone you know is at risk.

  • If someone is in immediate danger, contact the police immediately by dialling 999.
  • If you’re concerned that someone may be at risk, contact the NSPCC helpline on 0800 028 3550 or [email protected].
  • If you’re under pressure to have FGM performed on your daughter, ask your GP, health visitor or other healthcare professional for help, or contact the NSPCC helpline.
  • If you’ve had FGM, you can get help from a specialist NHS gynaecologist or FGM service – ask your GP, midwife or any other healthcare professional about services in your area. Download a list of NHS FGM clinics (PDF, 422kb).
  • Link Clinic – Liverpool Women’s Hospital.  Staffed by a specialist midwife/coordinator, both community and Children’s Centre midwives, and health link workers, the service offers a range of support aids including education and parenting classes, information leaflets and CDs. The clinic benefits from interpreters as well as a telephone interpreting service.

    Address: Liverpool Women’s Hospital, Antenatal Clinic, Crown St, Liverpool L8 7SS

    Clinic time: Mondays 9am and 1.30pm.

    Tel No: 0151 702 4180 or 0151 702 4178

    Contact: Joanne Topping

    Website:http://www.liverpoolwomens.nhs.uk/Our_Services/Maternity/Specialist_antenatal_clinics.aspx

If you’re a health professional caring for a patient under 18 who has undergone FGM, you have professional responsibilities to safeguard and protect her. Guidance and resources about FGM for healthcare staff are available on the GOV.UK website.

Equalitynow- Female Genital Mutilation

Forced Marriage

 What forced marriage is

You have the right to choose who you marry, when you marry or if you marry at all.

Forced marriage is when you face physical pressure to marry (for example, threats, physical violence or sexual violence) or emotional and psychological pressure (eg if you’re made to feel like you’re bringing shame on your family).

Force marriage offences

Forced marriage is illegal in England and Wales. This includes:

  • taking someone overseas to force them to marry (whether or not the forced marriage takes place)
  • marrying someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they’re pressured to or not)

Forcing someone to marry can result in a sentence of up to 7 years in prison.

Forced marriage protection orders

You can ask the court for a forced marriage protection order.

Each order is unique, and is designed to protect you according to your individual circumstances. For example, the court may order someone to hand over your passport or reveal where you are.  In an emergency, an order can be made to protect you immediately.

Disobeying a forced marriage protection order can result in a sentence of up to 5 years in prison.

Forced marriage abroad

Contact the FMU if you think you’re about to be taken abroad to get married against your will.  Contact the nearest British embassy if you’re already abroad.

If someone you know is at risk

Contact the FMU if you know someone who’s been taken abroad to be forced into marriage.  Give as many details as you can, for example:

  • where the person has gone
  • when they were due back
  • when you last heard from them

The FMU will contact the relevant embassy.

If they’re a British national, the embassy will try to contact the person and help them get back to the UK if that’s what they want.

Support for victims

Contact the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) if you’re trying to stop a forced marriage or you need help leaving a marriage you’ve been forced into.

Forced Marriage Unit
[email protected]
Telephone: 020 7008 0151
From overseas: +44 (0)20 7008 0151
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Out of hours: 020 7008 1500 (ask for the Global Response Centre)
Find out about call charges

Call 999 in an emergency.

A trained professional will give you free advice on what to do next.

They can also help you:

  • find a safe place to stay
  • stop a UK visa if you’ve been forced to sponsor someone

Read the handbook about being a survivor of forced marriage. It has details of organisations that can give you help and advice.