Honour Based Abuse
By Detective Inspector Jen Milsom in conjunction with HALO
Honour Based Abuse: ‘An incident or crime involving violence, threats of violence, intimidation, coercion or abuse (including psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse), which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of an individual, family and or community for alleged or perceived breaches of the family and / or community’s code of behaviour.’
The meaning of “honour” can be difficult to explain by victims of honour based abuse and leads to difficulties in understanding by those brought up in a western culture.
This brings problems in identifying when honour based abuse has occurred, and therefore across all agencies, we may not be dealing with it properly.
68% of victims at risk of HBA were at high risk of serious harm or homicide, compared to 55% of those victims not identified as at risk of HBA.
So by not dealing with it effectively at first point of call from the victim, we are increasing the risk to them of further harm.
In 2018 we have been working closely with the Halo Project to look at the issue of honour based abuse and how prevalent it is in our force area and then given refresher training across the force of the ways to deal with incidents of honour based abuse and how it is different to domestic abuse in order to ensure victims of honour based abuse get the response they need from us.
The victim is often new to the country and has very few friends or family members close by. We know that in most cases victims of domestic abuse have suffered for a significant length of time before coming to police or other support agencies for help.
Victims of honour based abuse will suffer for longer as they are less likely to have a support network of friends and family and the abuse may come from intimate partner and family members.
Before accessing support, victims at risk of HBA experienced abuse for 2 years longer (5 years vs 3 years) than those victims not identified as at risk of HBA.
There are often multiple victims and multiple perpetrators, if a victim turns to police for support it may affect them and their family, particularly their children.
The implications of further abuse for the victim and their family may be worse than the abuse they are suffering.
They may not have any financial support if they leave the relationship - many have no recourse to public funds.
Halo Project provides support to individuals suffering from honour based abuse including forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
"We will enable victims to access the help and support they need to live within a safe environment, free from harm and offer them protection."
Halo Project can also provide advice and support to police staff dealing with an honour based incident.
Posted on Friday 7th December 2018