What is Honour Based Abuse?

Honour Based Abuse is an international term used by many cultures for justification of abuse and violence. It is a crime or incident committed in order to protect or defend the family or community ‘honour’.

Honour based abuse will often go hand in hand with forced marriages, although this is not always the case. Honour crimes and forced marriages are already covered by the law, and can involve a range of criminal offences.

Honour Based Abuse is often the collective term used to include Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage.

Forced Marriage

A forced marriage is a marriage in which one or both spouses do not (or, in the case of some adults with learning or physical disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and duress is involved. Duress can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure.

There is a clear distinction between a forced marriage and an arranged marriage. In arranged marriages, the families of both spouses take a leading role in arranging the marriage but the choice whether or not to accept the arrangement remains with the prospective spouses.

A new video from the Forced Marriage Unit shows the devastating impact of forced marriage on victims and their families. The aim of the film is to raise public awareness of the impact of forced marriage, and warn of the criminal consequences of involvement, building on the outreach and education work of the FMU. Told from the perspective of a victim’s older brother, who is complicit in arranging her forced marriage but unaware of its true impact until it is too late, the film represents the first time the FMU have directly targeted family members.

If someone you know is being forced into a marriage either in the UK or abroad you can contact either Essex Police on 101, or the Forced Marriage Unit on 020 7008 0151 or by emailing fmu@fco.gov.uk .

If you wish to find out more about the Forced Marriage Unit visit: www.fco.gov.uk/forcedmarriage  

Useful contacts

Forced Marriage Unit: (+44) 020 7008 0151 


Karma Nirvana Honour Network: 0800 5999 247 

Womens Aid: 0808 2000 247

Respond (Learning Disabilities):  0207 383 0700 

Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation (IKWRO): 0207 920 6460 / 6461 / 6462 

Freedom Charity 24/7 helpline: 0845 607 0133 

Forward (Specifically for African women): 0208 960 4000 

Learning and Development

A training course on Honour Based Abuse and Forced Marriage is offered by the Essex Safeguarding Adult Board. The course is appropriate for anyone wanting an improved awareness of Honour Based Abuse (HBA) and Forced Marriage (FM) and the relevant legislation. More details can be found in the Learning and Development section of the website.