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Honour based violence

Get the facts

What is honour based violence?

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

It 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

A forced marriage is one that is carried out without the consent of both people. This is very different to an arranged marriage, which both people will have agreed to. There is no religion that says it is right to force you into a marriage and you are not betraying your faith by refusing such a marriage.

We take honour based crime very seriously and deal with each individual case sensitively and confidentially. We work to keep victims safe and prevent further crimes from happening. Our approach has meant that more people than ever are turning to us for help.

Things to know

  • We, as the police, have made it a high priority to help communities fight back with specialist Community Safety Units to tackle both honour based violence and hate crime. They operate in each of the Metropolitan Police Service's 32 London boroughs
  • More people than ever are reporting honour based violence. We take every reported incident very seriously and work to protect the safety and security of victims.
  • You do not have to wait for a crime to be committed to come and talk to us about your fears. We are here to help you and make you safe even if nothing ‘criminal’ has happened yet.

No instances of honour based violence are too minor to report to us. It affects the whole community, not just those involved or victimised directly.

If you have been a victim of honour based violence, or know someone else who has been affected by it, there's help and support available. Visit our ‘More help and advice’ page.

Honour based violence