Domestic Abuse - What is so-called ‘honour based’ abuse, violence and forced marriage?
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In recent years, there has been an increased awareness of so-called ‘honour based’ abuse, violence and forced marriage.
There is a huge range of crimes that may be classed as ‘honour based’ due to the reasons they are perpetrated and in the UK each year there are at least 12 so-called ‘honour based’ murders.
What is defined as ‘honour based’ abuse?
The CPS defines ‘honour based’ crime as:
“An incident or crime involving violence, threats of violence, intimidation coercion or abuse (including psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse) which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of an individual, family and/ or community for alleged or perceived breaches of the family and/or community’s code of behaviour.”
Behaviours that may be classed ‘immoral’ can, but are not limited to, the following:
running away, coming home late
ideological differences between parents and children
refusing an arranged marriage
relationships outside marriage
relationships outside the approved group
‘inappropriate' make up or dress
loss of virginity
reporting/fleeing domestic abuse, coercive and controlling behaviour, forced marriage
girls who ‘allow themselves to be raped'
Unlike domestic abuse where it is typically one person abusing another, in cases of HBA and forced marriage the perpetrators can be one or many, including:
father and mother
brother and sister
uncles, aunts, cousins
bounty hunters/'hit men'
Crimes that may be committed as part of ‘honour based’ abuse or violence can be, but are not limited to:
false imprisonment or kidnap
ABH or GBH
threats to kill
harassment and stalking
female genital mutilation
forced to commit suicide
What about Forced Marriage?
Forced marriage is separate criminal act which refers to a marriage that has been undertaken without one, or both individuals, consent.
There is a very big difference between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage. An arranged marriage is entered into freely by both people, although their families take a leading role in the choice of partner.
There are some signs that you may be the victim of a forced marriage.
Are you being pressured to get married but don't want to?
Is a close member of your family threatening to hurt you if you don't accept the marriage?
Is anyone abusing you verbally or physically and pressuring you to get married?
Have you already been forced into a marriage?
Are you being forced to live with a marriage partner you did not choose and you do not want to be with?
In forcing a person to marry a person or group may commit a number of separate crimes including, harassment, kidnap and threats to kills.
What help and support is there?
As with many forms of domestic abuse, victims of such abuse may think they are powerless to leave a situation – sometimes for financial reasons, sometimes because of the emotional abuse they have been subject to, or because of fear of violence.
Whatever the situation there is always a person to talk to and there are many charities and groups specifically set up to help those who may be suffering, or at risk of suffering, ‘honour based’ abuse or violence or forced marriage.
Derby is home to the Karma Nirvana, an independent charity, which has a huge range of resources to help those who may be victims or those who may be worried that a loved one, colleague or neighbour may be at risk of abuse.