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Honour based abuse

Honour based abuse refers to crimes or incidents committed to protect or defend the honour of a family and/or community.

  • It can take many different forms including harassment, criminal damage, arson, sexual assault, forced marriage, kidnap and even murder.
  • It is often linked to family members or acquaintances who mistakenly believe someone has brought shame to their family or community by doing something that is not in keeping with the traditional beliefs of their culture.
  • For example, honour based abuse might be committed against people who:
  • become involved with a boyfriend or girlfriend from a different culture or religion
  • no longer want an arranged marriage or feel that you are being forced into marriage
  • want a divorce
  • wear clothes or take part in activities that might not be considered traditional within a particular culture
  • Crimes of ‘honour’ do not always include violence. Crimes committed in the name of ‘honour’ might include:
  • domestic abuse
  • threats of violence
  • sexual or psychological abuse
  • forced marriage
  • being held against your will or taken somewhere you don’t want to go
  • assault

Reporting honour based abuse

Essex Police take honour based crime very seriously and deals with each individual case sensitively and confidentially.

We work to keep victims safe and prevent further crimes from happening.  You do not have to wait for a crime to be committed to come and talk to us about your fears. We are here to help you and make you safe.  No instances of honour based violence are too minor to report to us. It affects the whole community, not just those involved or victimised directly.

We understand that victims may be scared to report HBA, FGM or Forced Marriage but we encourage you to do so. HBA is under–reported because those at risk can feel tied by family or community loyalty or are too distressed to speak out.

If you, or someone you know is suffering honour based abuse we urge you to report to us to prevent further crimes. You can call 999 in an emergency or phone 101 to report a crime. You can also visit your local police station.

What will the police do? 

We have a dedicated team of safeguarding officers within our Central Referral Unit who will explain the investigation process to you and will help you to stay safe.  We can also refer you to other support agencies. 

Your safety is paramount and we will ensure safety plans are put in place for you and any other family members who are at risk of abuse.

If you contact us we will:

  • Arrange to see you in a secure and private place
  • Recognise and respect your wishes
  • Ensure everything you speak to us about is confidential 
  • Take action to protect you
  • Provide you with support

Honour Based Abuse (HBA)  is always a matter for the police, we can help you and signpost you to additional support that you may need. We will do everything possible to protect you and bring the people responsible to justice.

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