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Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence

What is Forced Marriage?

"A forced marriage is a marriage conducted without valid consent of one or both parties where duress is a factor"

There is sometimes confusion between forced and arranged marriages. An arranged marriage involves the full consent from both persons involved, whilst in a forced marriage one or both persons will be subjected to coercion, manipulation, pressure or threat to fulfil the vows of marriage.

Forced marriage is not a religious or cultural issue - it is a human rights abuse. Forced marriage means just that - where you are told that you have to get married, and you don't want to.
UK legislation has been in place since November 2008 to help protect victims of forced marriage: The Forced Marriage (Civil) Protection Act 2007
 

Guidance for Social Workers, Police Officers, Education and Health Professionals can be obtained from the Foreign Commonwealth Office and from the Procedures page of this website.

The AVA Project have produced two short films about forced marriage.

 

What is Honour Based Violence?

Honour based violence is the term used to describe ‘murder, rape, kidnap and many other acts, behaviour and conduct which make up violence in the name of so-called honour’ (ACPO, 2008). Honour based murders are sometimes called 'honour killings'. These are murders in which predominantly women are killed for perceived immoral behaviour, which is deemed to have breached the honour code of a family or community, causing shame.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) definition of so-called honour based violence is: 'a crime or incident, which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community' (2008).  Professionals should respond in a similar way to cases of honour based violence as with domestic violence and forced marriage, that is in facilitating disclosure, developing individual safety plans, ensuring the child's safety by according them confidentiality in relation to the rest of the family, and completing individual risk assessments where appropriate. 

A child who is at risk of honour based violence is at significant risk of physical harm (including being murdered) and/or neglect, and children may also suffer significant emotional harm through the threat of violence or witnessing violence directed towards a sibling or other family member.

Honour based violence cuts across all cultures and communities. Cases encountered in the UK for example, have involved families from Turkish, Kurdish, Afghani, South Asian, African, Middle Eastern, South and Eastern European and Irish communities. This is not an exhaustive list.

Further Information and Support

Karma Nirvana is a UK registered Charity that supports victims and survivors of Forced Marriage and Honour Based Abuse. It aims to raise public awareness on the issues, and provides education through accredited training, including seminars, conferences and workshops. It runs the National Honour Network Helpline where call handlers provide confidential listening support, options and guidance to all professionals, victims and survivors of honour based abuse.  Helpline: 0800 5999247
 
MixTogether is a charity that supports mixed couples (mixed race/ religion/ caste) who face opposition from family or community to their relationship.
 
IKWRO - The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation provides advice and support to Middle Eastern women and girls living in the UK who are facing ‘honour’ based violence, domestic abuse, forced marriage or female genital mutilation.
 
National Domestic Violence Helpline – The Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, is a national service for women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf. Helpline: 0808 2000 247
EMAIL: helpline@womensaid.org.uk

Simrans Link - Simran’s Link is a community website to’ share views’ and link people in the situation of disownment. The specific connection to being disowned relates to the misplaced notions of ‘honour’ and ‘shame’. They view ‘disownment’ in this context as an act of abuse against the human rights of an individual. This website is to support, befriend, and offer a positive community to people affected in this way.

 

 

 

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