What is Honour Based Abuse
Honour Based Abuse is an International term used by many cultures for justification of abuse and violence. 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.
This is not a crime which is perpetrated by men only, sometimes female relatives will support, incite or assist. It is also not unusual for younger relatives to be selected to undertake the abuse as a way to protect senior members of the family.
Honour Based Abuse is often the collective term used to include Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage.
In a forced marriage you are coerced into marrying someone against your will. You may be physically threatened or emotionally blackmailed to do so. It is an abuse of human rights and cannot be justified on any religious or cultural basis.
It’s not the same as an arranged marriage where you have a choice as to whether to accept the arrangement or not. The tradition of arranged marriages has operated successfully within many communities and countries for a very long time.
The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) is dedicated both to preventing British nationals being forced into marriage overseas and to assisting anyone in the UK faced with the prospect of being forced into a marriage. If you are worried that you might be forced into a marriage or are worried about someone else who may be you can contact the FMU confidentially on: 020 7008 0151 (or 0044 20 7008 0151 if you are overseas)
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 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.
Further information for victims of forced marriage can be found here.
Female Genital Mutilation
Female genital mutilation is a collective term used for procedures, such as female circumcision, which include the partial or total removal of the external female genital organs, or injury to the female genital organs for a cultural or non-therapeutic reason.
If you have concerns that a girl or young women may be taken overseas for FGM then please contact the FCO on 0207 008 1500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
- The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.
- Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later, potential childbirth complications and newborn deaths.
- An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM.
- It is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15 years.
- In Africa an estimated 92 million girls from 10 years of age and above have undergone FGM.
- FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
- It is illegal to practice FGM in the UK
The Female Genital Mutilation Act was introduced in 2003 and came into effect in March 2004.
- Makes it illegal to practice FGM in the UK
- Makes it illegal to take girls who are British nationals or permanent residents of the UK abroad for FGM whether or not it is lawful in that country
- Makes it illegal to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad
- Has a penalty of up to 14 years in prison and/or a fine
Help and support
If you require any help, support or advice please ring Cambridgeshire Police. If there is an immediate threat to life, or the immediate threat of being taken abroad, ring the emergency number, or the forced marriage unit.
Emergency number: 999 Non emergency number: 101
FGM Helpline: 0800 028 3550
Other useful resources
The summer holidays are when many young girls are taken abroad, often to their family’s birth country, to have FGM performed. The FGM statement, also known as the FGM health passport, highlights the fact that FGM is a serious criminal offence in the UK.
If you’re worried about FGM, print out this statement, take it abroad with you and show it to your family. Keep the declaration in your passport, purse or bag, and carry it with you all the time.
There are also versions of the statement in other languages on the GOV.UK website.
The Department of Health has published leaflets for patients who want to know more about FGM. These are available in the following languages:
More about FGM – English version (PDF, 117kb)
Mwy o wybodaeth am FGM – Welsh version (PDF, 164kb)
ስለ ኤፍ ጂ ኤም ተጨማሪ መረጃ – Amharic version (PDF, 472kb)
مزيد من المعلومات حول ختان الإناث – Arabic version (PDF, 228kb)
FGM اطلاعات بیشتر درباره – Farsi version (PDF, 207kb)
Renseignements complémentaires sur les MGF – French version (PDF, 167kb)
Informasi selengkapnya tentang FGM – Indonesian version (PDF, 160kb)
FGM زانیاری زیاتر دەربارەی – Kurdish Sorani version (PDF, 245kb)
Macluumaad dheeraad ah ee ku saabsan FGM – Somali version (PDF, 170kb)
Habari zaidi kuhusu ukeketaji wa wanawake – Swahili version (PDF, 160kb)
ብዛዕባ ኤፍ ጂ ኤም ተወሳኺ ሓበሬታ – Tigrinya version (PDF, 491kb)
ایف جی ایم کے بارے میں مزید معلومات – Urdu version (PDF, 235kb)