Honour based violence

There is no specific offence of ‘honour’-based violence. However, the Crown Prosecution Service describes ‘honour’-based violence as an incident or crime “which has, or may have, been committed to protect or defend the ‘honour’ of the family and or the community.” ‘Honour’ can be the motivation, excuse or justification behind a range of violent acts.

You may recognise ‘honour’ as Izzat, Ghairat, Namus or Sharam.

What acts would be classed as ‘honour based’?

Acts of ‘honour’ can be perpetrated by family members, community members and friends. Some examples of ‘honour based’ acts include;

  • Forced marriage
  • Domestic violence (physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse)
  • Sexual harassment and sexual violence (rape and sexual assault or threat of rape and sexual assault)
  • Threats to kill
  • Social ostracism or rejection and emotional pressure
  • Pressure to go or move abroad
  • House arrest and excessive restrictions of freedom
  • Denial of access to the telephone, internet, or passport/key documentation
  • Isolation from friends and own family

Types of perceived honour infringements that can lead to violence

There are a range of cultural infringements that may lead to increased risk of violence from family or community. Being at university can be the first occasion or opportunity to reflect on cultural pressures.

Risk may be increased if;

  • Choose your own partner, and show affection in a public place, enter into a interfaith relationship
  • Wearing clothes which are considered immodest including wearing make-up
  • Individuals who identify as LGBT may be placed under pressure to reject their sexuality/identity. The pressure to "conform" may also extend to individuals who are suspected as identifying as LGBT.

Are there any techniques that will help me cope?

Talk to someone?

If you feel you may be at risk of being taken out of the country, forced to marry or are experiencing domestic violence within your family home we would encourage you to talk to a Student Services Adviser, we can look at ways to support you, which may include support with housing, finance, emotional and practical support.

You can call National helpline 0800 5999 247.

Grab a spoon

If you fear that you will be forced to leave the country against your wishes, hide a spoon under your clothing, the alarm will go off through airport security allowing you to tell airport staff that you are at risk. They can then get you to a place of safety by calling refuge.

Access emotional support

Emotional support is available from a range of sources, including local charities, or a Student Services adviser.

Karma Nirvana national helpline

What if I think I’m in danger?

Contact the Police via 999 or if non-urgent (101) and request an Honour Based Violence (HBA) Karma Nirvana Risk Assessment.

You can contact the Forced marriage unit and apply for a protection order, call: 020 7008 015.

Refuge can support in a place of safety, 0808 2000 247.

You can discuss Safety measures with a Student Services Adviser, such as not to raise alarm within family home, packing a small hidden bag of essentials. Paperwork/documents can be retrieved later by Police if necessary.

Report to the University online