The National Police Chiefs' Council define Honour Based Abuse as:

“an incident or crime involving violence, threats of violence, intimidation, coercion, or abuse (including psychological, physical, sexual, financial, or emotional abuse), which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of an individual, family and/or community for alleged or perceived breaches of the family and/or communities code of behaviour”

For some communities the notion of ‘honour’ in considered very important and carries with it much expectation. This idea of honour is one that is tied up with perceived cultural and/or religious beliefs. The fear of shame can drive some families and communities to exert control over certain members. If perceived codes of honour are broken, it can lead to repercussions which can include threats, intimidation and in some cases, violence. In many cases, these acts are perpetrated by close family members.

The term ‘honour-based abuse’ is an umbrella term, used to refer to a range of criminal acts done in the name of perceived honour. These can include forced marriage, acid attacks, rape, murder (‘honour’ killing), imprisonment, abduction, violence and threats of violence, amongst others.

The term ‘honour’-based abuse is a contentious one, leading some to call this type of abuse ‘so-called’ honour-based abuse, due to the connotations of linking the notion of honour with abuse. We use this term here however, as this is widely used within safeguarding and criminal justice circles, however we feel it is important to recognise the contentious nature of this term and recognise not all students will feel comfortable with this.

Whilst there is no specific offence of ‘honour-based crime’, it is, according to the CPS ‘a violation of human rights and may be a form of domestic and/or sexual violence’. Acts of honour-based abuse and violence are criminal acts covered by legislation that already exists and so should be reported to police