Honour Based Abuse

Honour Based Abuse is a violent incident or crime which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and or community.

Honour based abuse can affect men, women and children and cuts across all cultures, faith group, Nationalities and communities. It is interlinked with both child protection and domestic abuse.

Honour based abuse is where an individual is being punished by their family or community for actually or allegedly undermining what they believe to be the correct code of behaviour. 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.

Honour based abuse can be distinguished from other forms of violence as it is often committed with some degree of approval and/or collusion from family and community members.

There are many reasons honour based abuse might be committed against people, a few examples are:

  • Controlling sexuality and sexual behaviour
  • Preserving the family honour
  • Preventing unsuitable relationships (having a relationship outside of religion/ethnicity, caste)
  • Responding to community or family pressure
  • Controlling unwanted behaviour (too westernised, experimentation with alcohol/drugs).

Women and girls are the most common victims of honour based violence however it is not exclusive and can also affect men and boys. 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
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM)
  • Being held against your will or taken somewhere you don’t want to go
  • Assault
  • Abduction of a child
  • Harassment and stalking
  • Murder
  • Child cruelty.


The image at the top of the page shows a 3D sculpture of Shafilea Ahmed from Cheshire, who was brutally murdered by her own parents in an ‘honour’ killing where they suffocated her with a plastic bag.

For the Annual Day of Memory Karma Nirvana asked the public to tweet #RememberShafilea to restore Shafilea’s memory and create a memorial in her honour, and in honour of the 141 other women and girls who have lost to their lives to ‘honour’ violence since her death. The aim was to counter the dark intention of Shafilea's parents by using plastic in a positive way.

The thousands of tweets in support enabled a 3D printer to build the sculpture to ensure her memory lives on and that the victims of honour killings are never forgotten.

Cheshire Police take honour based crime very seriously and deal with each individual case sensitively and confidentially. We work hard to keep victims safe and prevent further crimes from happening.

Report it

In an emergency dial 999

Non emergencies- 101

Crimestoppers- 0800 555 111