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What is Honour-Based Abuse?

Honour-based abuse is a crime or incident committed to protect or defend the 'honour' of a family or community.

If your family or community think you've shamed or embarrassed them by behaving in a certain way, they may punish you for breaking their 'honour' code.

Is honour-based abuse happening to you?

Have you been threatened or abused if you've tried to:

  • have a relationship or marry someone outside your community or someone within your community that your family don't approve of

  • separate or divorce

  • talk to certain people

  • have sex before marriage

  • become pregnant or give birth outside of marriage

  • wear clothes your family or community think are inappropriate

  • use drugs or alcohol

  • access higher education

  • challenge what your family or community expect of you

  • disagree with the religion of your family or community

People who carry out honour-based abuse are often close family members but also extended family or community members.

Types of honour-based abuse

There isn't one specific crime of honour-based abuse. It can involve a range of crimes and behaviours, such as:

  • forced marriage

  • domestic abuse (physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or financial)

  • sexual harassment and sexual violence (rape and sexual assault or the threat of)

  • threats to kill, physical and emotional violence and murder

  • pressure to go or move abroad

  • being kept at home with no freedom

  • not allowed to use the telephone, internet, or have access to important documents like your passport or birth certificate

  • isolation from friends and members of your own family

Warning signs

If you're concerned about someone being abused, here are some warning signs to look out for:

  • acting withdrawn or upset

  • bruising or other unexplained physical injury

  • depression, self-harming or attempted suicide

  • unexplained absence or poor performance at school or work

  • their movements at home are strictly controlled

  • family rows, domestic violence

  • running away from home

  • a family history of relatives going missing

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