Honour-based violence

What is honour-based violence?

Honour-based violence refers to crimes or incidents committed to protect or defend the honour of a family and/or community. It can take many forms including:

  • harassment
  • criminal damage
  • arson
  • sexual assault
  • forced marriage
  • kidnap
  • murder

It can occur in any community and can affect both men and women.

Forced marriage

One of the most common and high profile forms of honour-based violence is force marriage. 

A forced marriage is where one or both parties has not agreed to marry and has been forced to do so against their will.

Most cases involve young women and girls aged between 13 and 30 years, although there is evidence to suggest that as many as 15% of victims are male.

A forced marriage is different to an arranged marriage.  An arranged marriage is an agreement between both parties entered into freely.  It is a practice that has been successful in many cultures for many years. 

Read “What is Forced Marriage” by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Forced Marriage Protection Orders

A Forced Marriage Protection Order could help you if you are being forced into marriage or are in a forced marriage.

It is unique to each case and contains legally binding conditions and directions that change the behaviour of a person or persons trying to force someone into marriage. The aim of the order is to protect the person who has been, or is being, forced into marriage. The court can make an order in an emergency so that protection is in place straightaway.

A Forced Marriage Protection Order can help if you are:

  • being forced into marriage; or
  • already in a forced marriage.

To find out more, visit www.gov.uk.

Report it

If you or someone you know is suffering honour-based violence or may be/has been subject to a forced marriage, you can report it to us by:

  • calling 999 where life is at risk and you believe someone is in immediate danger
  • calling our non emergency number on 101 or report it online.
  • visiting your nearest police station

An officer will explain the investigation process to you and support you throughout it. They can also refer you to other support agencies.

Your safety is paramount. Our officers put safety plans in place for you and any other family members who are at risk of violence. We will work with you to find secure accommodation.  We will also have contacts who will be able to help you in the long term.

You do not have to be the victim to report a forced marriage or honour-based violence. If you are a friend or relative you can report it too.  It will help us if you are able to provide as much information as possible.  For example name, address and date of birth of the victim, details about the family and any possible travel dates and destinations.

More help and support

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The Forced Marriage Unit at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office can provide advice and support for those in fear of being taken abroad for the purposes of forced marriage.
020 7008 0151
Email: fmu@fco.gov.uk

0800 555 111

Karma Nirvana
Karma Nirvana provides information and support for male and female victims of forced marriage and honour-based violence.
0800 5999 247

My Marriage My Choice

Further specialist services in the county that may be able to assist you can be found on our domestic abuse page.

Related Documents & Further Reading

30 Jul 21 4:15 PM

Find your neighbourhood

Use my current location