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Honour Based Violence and Forced Marriage

Honour Based Violence and Forced Marriage

Honour based violence (HBV) is a violent crime or incident which may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family or community.

A forced marriage is where one or both people do not (or in cases of people with learning disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and pressure or abuse is used. This is different from an arranged marriage where both parties agree.

Honour based violence

Is often linked to family members or acquaintances who mistakenly believe someone has brought shame to their family or community by doing something that is not in keeping with the traditional beliefs of their culture. For example, honour based violence might be committed against people who:

  • become involved with a boyfriend or girlfriend from a different culture or religion
  • want to get out of an arranged marriage
  • want to get out of a forced marriage
  • wear clothes or take part in activities that might not be considered traditional within a particular culture.

Women and girls are the most common victims of honour based violence however it can also affect men and boys. Crimes of ‘honour’ do not always include violence. Crimes committed in the name of ‘honour’ might include:

  • domestic abuse
  • threats of violence
  • sexual or psychological abuse
  • forced marriage
  • being held against your will or taken somewhere you don’t want to go
  • assault.

Forced marriage

A forced marriage is where one or both people do not (or in cases of people with learning disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and pressure or abuse is used.

Forced marriages happen in many religions and nationalities and it doesn’t just affect girls - boys can also be forced into marriage. It can also happen to children and adults. Refusing to marry someone chosen by the family may be seen as dishonourable which can then lead to honour based violence.

It is recognised in the UK as a form of violence against women and men, domestic/child abuse and a serious abuse of human rights.  

Further information and advice

If you are in a forced marriage, trying to stop a forced marriage or need advice if you suspect a forced marriage has taken place call the Forced Marriage Helpline on 0207 008 0151 (between 9-5) or the Out of Hours service on 020 7008 1500 (ask for the Global Response Centre).

If you are a child or young person and need help and advice, you could also ChildLine (External link) on 0800 11 11.

The Forced Marriage Unit is  part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Home Office Forced Marriage Unit and have produced further information if:

Letting people know

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Find out how to spot the signs and symptoms and support someone in need of help.

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Advice for professionals

Advice for professionals

Find information, advice and training to help you provide support to people suffering with domestic abuse, violence against women or sexual violence.

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Related links

If you are experiencing or afraid that you are at risk of Honour based Violence or Forced Marriage, there are people that you can speak to who will be able to provide you with help and support, in confidence.
If you know someone who is experiencing or is at risk of Honour based Violence or Forced Marriage, there are things that you can do to help and people that will be able to provide you with advice and support, in confidence.

About Live Fear Free

Live Fear Free is a Welsh Government website, providing information and advice for those suffering with violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

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