Honour-based abuse

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‘Honour’-based abuse

‘Honour’ based abuse is abuse inflicted on a victim by their family or community, because they have been perceived as dishonouring their family, culture or religion. Those inflicting the abuse do so to punish the victim for breaking their ‘honour’ code.

Signs of ‘honour’-based abuse

If you have received threats or abuse for doing any of the following things, you may be experiencing honour-based abuse:

  • Having a relationship (romantic or platonic) with someone outside your community, or someone your family doesn’t approve of
  • Having sex and/or getting pregnant outside of marriage.
  • Wearing clothes your family or community deem to be inappropriate.
  • Challenging what your family or community expect of you.
  • Disagreeing with the religion/culture of your family or community.
  • Accessing higher education.
  • Refusing a forced marriage, or wanting a divorce.

‘Honour’-based abuse comes in different forms, including:

  • Forced marriage
  • Domestic abuse
  • Sexual harassment and violence
  • Forced relocation abroad
  • Threats of verbal, physical or sexual abuse
  • Isolation from loved ones
  • Being controlled, eg. not being allowed out of the house, having phone, laptop, passport etc taken away

Someone you know may be experiencing ‘honour’-based abuse if they:

  • Act withdrawn or upset.
  • Have bruises or other unexplained physical injuries.
  • Exhibit symptoms of depression, self harm or suicidal thoughts.
  • Perform poorly at work or school, or have unexplained absences.
  • Are controlled by their family or community to an unhealthy degree.
  • Have run away from home before.
  • Have a family history of relatives going missing.

We can support you through our helpline if you believe that you or a loved one are experiencing ‘honour’-based abuse, so please give us a call if you need guidance.

Available support

If you relate to this information you are not alone; there is help available.

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