Warwickshire Police is supporting the national day of remembrance for ‘honour-based’ abuse today (Tuesday 14 July).
‘Honour-based’ abuse can affect men and women across all ages and a number of cultures and communities. It is defined as a crime or incident committed to protect or defend the honour of the family.
It can take many forms, including physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, and can also be linked to instances of forced marriage.
The concept of ‘honour’ is for some communities deemed to be extremely important. To compromise a family’s ‘honour’ is to bring dishonour and shame and this can have severe consequences.
The punishment for bringing dishonour can be emotional abuse, physical abuse, being disowned by your family and in some cases, even murder.
Specific behaviours, attitudes and actions that may constitute ‘dishonour’ are wide ranging and include:
- Reporting domestic abuse
- Smoking cigarettes
- Inappropriate make-up or dress
- Running away from home
- ‘Allowing’ rape
- Having a boyfriend
- Pregnancy outside of marriage
- Interfaith relationships
- Rejecting a forced or arranged marriage
- Leaving a spouse or seeking divorce
- Kissing, holding hands or other intimacy in a public place
- Family and community intolerance of someone’s sexuality or gender identity
There are an estimated twelve ‘honour’ killings of British citizens every year; however it is widely believed that the real number is considerably higher. There has been particular concern this year that those at risk may not have been able to access help or support due to the COVID-19 restrictions
Detective Chief Inspector Jon Belcher said: “Honour-based abuse cuts across all cultures and nationalities. Victims are not determined by age, gender, sexuality, or religion. In most honour-based abuse cases there are multiple perpetrators from the victim’s family, and occasionally the community at large.
“Honour-based abuse does happen in our communities in Warwickshire. Culture and tradition are not an excuse, and we will do everything we can to make sure victims receive the best possible care and support, protect their safety, and prosecute those responsible.
“Warwickshire Police work closely with a range of partners and support agencies and there is help available for people who are, or who may be at risk of forced marriage, ‘honour based’ abuse and female genital mutilation (FGM). We have specially trained officers who can provide support.”
Refuge – Warwickshire’s Domestic Violence Service – provides advice and support to women, men and children experiencing domestic violence in Warwickshire.
This includes culturally specific services, including support to victims of FGM, honour based violence and forced marriage.
You can email them on DVSW@refuge.org.uk, call 0800 408 1552 or visit their website
In an emergency always call 999.