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Guidance on Honour-Based Violence

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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 a family or community. Honour-based violence is often linked to family members or acquaintances who believe an individual has brought shame into their family or their community by doing something that is not aligned with the traditional beliefs of their culture. The concept of “honour” is deemed to be extremely important in some communities and some individuals will go to extreme lengths to defend this “honour.”

Although women and girls are predominantly the victims of honour-based violence, it can also affect men and boys. There are many different types of honour-based violence. Honour-based violence is an umbrella term used for a collection of practices used to control behaviour and exert power within families. Examples of honour-based violence includes forced marriage, domestic violence (physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse), female genital mutilation, social ostracism, isolation from family and friends and excessive restrictions on an individual’s freedom.

Honour-based violence can often have multiple perpetrators and is not limited to a specific gender. It affects all cultures, nationalities, faith groups and communities. Many victims are often scared to seek support out of fear of retaliation not only from their own family but also the wider community.

What Does the Law State?

Honour-based violence is a fundamental abuse of an individual’s human rights. There are a number of legislations in place to protect victims of honour-based violence.

Forced Marriage Protection Orders (FPMOs)

A FMPO is a civil law remedy, the aim of which is to provide protection to someone who is at risk of or has already been subjected to a forced marriage without giving their full and free consent.

A FMPO can be made to protect a victim or a person at risk from a spouse or prospective spouse, family member or anyone involved. Involvement can include aiding, abetting, counselling, procuring, encouraging, or assisting another person to force or attempt to force a person to marry. FMPOs can last for a specified period of time or for an indefinite period. A breach of a FMPO may result in a custodial sentence.

Female Genital Mutilation Protection Order (FGM PO)

A FGM PO is a civil law remedy, which can be obtained either through the Family Court or Criminal Court. It aims to protect a girl who either has been or may become a victim of FGM. A breach of a FGM PO may result in a custodial sentence.

Non-Molestation Order (NMO)

A Non-Molestation Order is an injunction to protect victims from domestic abuse. The perpetrator will need to be either a spouse, former spouse, family members, partner or someone with which you are or have cohabited. A breach of a NMO may result in a custodial sentence.

It is important to note that you may be entitled to Legal Aid in respect of the above Orders.

Where to Seek Support, Information and Legal Advice

If you believe that you are a victim of honour-based abuse or know someone who is a victim of honour-based violence and wish to discuss matters confidentially, please contact Mahbuba Akhtar on 0115 945 4555 or email to arrange an initial appointment.

If you need further support and assistance, rather than legal advice, these organisations can also assist you.

Nottingham Women’s Muslim Network

07826 464 722


0808 2000 0247