Honor-based violence (HBV) is a form of domestic abuse with the aim to protect or defend the honour of the family or community. It is a crime in the UK and is prevalent in countries (or within communities from countries) such as Turkey, Kurdistan, Afghanistan, South Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and in South and Eastern Europe, though this is not an exhaustive list.

HBV can exist in any culture or community particularly where males are in position to establish and enforce women’s conduct; however, males can also be victims, sometimes due to homosexuality, having a disability, or for being in an “inappropriate” relationship. Additionally, women have also been known to support, incite, and/or assist with violence. 

HBV is typically committed against those who disobey the traditional beliefs of their culture and as a result bring shame to their community or family. This can include having a boyfriend, wearing inappropriate clothes, rejecting a forced/ arranged marriage, seeking divorce, pregnancy outside of wedlock, and interfaith relationships. 

HBV does not always include violence; it can also include:

  • Threats of violence or to kill
  • Domestic abuse including physical and financial abuse
  • Sexual harrassment, violence, and abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Forced marriage
  • Assault
  • Holding someone against their will or taking them to a place forcibly
  • Social ostracism or rejection
  • Denying access to children
  • House arrent / restriction of freedom
  • Restricted access to telephones, the internet, and passport
  • Isolation from friends and family

Victim support is available from a number of sources, including: 

Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 (run by Refuge and Women’s Aid)

Forced Marriage Unit: 020 7008 0151 or fmu@fco.gov.uk

Police: 999 or 101