Honour Based Violence
The terms ‘honour crime’, ‘izzat’ or ‘honour-based violence’ embrace a variety of crimes of violence (mainly but not exclusively against women), including assault, imprisonment and murder where the person is being punished by their family or community. They are being punished for actually, or allegedly, undermining what the family or community believes to be the correct code of behaviour. In transgressing against this correct code of behaviour, the person shows that they have not been properly controlled to conform by their family and this is to the ‘shame’ or ‘dishonour’ of the family.
Forced marriage is defined as a marriage conducted without the full consent of both parties and where duress is a factor. There is a clear distinction between forced marriage and an arranged marriage. In arranged marriages, the families may take a leading role in arranging the marriage, but the choice whether or not to accept remains with the prospective spouses. In a forced marriage, one or both spouses do not consent to the marriage. The child could be facing physical, psychological, sexual, financial or emotional abuse to pressure them into accepting the marriage.
Forced marriage affects victims from many communities. The majority of cases reported to date in the UK involve South Asian families, but there have been cases involving families from across Europe, East Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Some forced marriages take place in the UK with no overseas element, while others involve a partner coming from overseas or a British national being sent abroad.
What is the difference between Forced marriage and arranged marriage?
In arranged marriages, the families of both spouses take a leading role in arranging the marriage but the choice of whether or not to accept the arrangement remains with the prospective spouses.
This is acknowledged under the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, article 16(2):
(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
So called ‘honour’ based violence/ abuse
So called ‘honour’ based violence (HBV) is where the person is being punished by their family or their community. They are being punished because of a belief, actual or alleged, that a person has not been properly controlled enough to conformity and thus this is to the ‘shame’ or ‘dishonour’ of the family.
‘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 members
Not everyone who is at risk from Honour Based Violence has been subjected to Forced Marriage