Providing support to people whose lives have been affected by domestic abuse

Honour Based Violence (HBV) is an incident or crime which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community.  HBV is usually carried out by immediate family members with the complicit help of relatives and the wider community.  Victims can be male or female, although the patriarchal (male dominated) structure of honour-based communities tends to result in more severe abuse towards women.

Punishments in the form of physical abuse (for damaging, or potentially damaging, the honour of the family) are usually carried out by the fathers, brothers, husbands and community members, while a 'wider community' made up of extended family (male and female), neighbours and friends monitor the movements and activities of victims and report her/his 'transgressions' back to the family.  Many victims can feel that they are on trial even though they have not committed any actual crime.  This false feeling of 'criminality' is often accepted by the victim at a deep psychological level and can last a lifetime even when they come to 'intellectually' understand that they were victims of abuse.


If a victim is deemed to be too ‘Westernised’ they may be subjected to a campaign of terror which can include verbal, emotional, psychological, sexual or physical abuse.

This goes on until the victim gives up Western behaviours and submits to the expectations of family and community. In extreme cases families will carry out an ‘honour killing’ to restore their family honour or ‘izzat’. A victim may be deemed to be ‘too Westernised’ by engaging in the following behaviours:

Useful Links

Karma Nirvana - tel: 0800 5999247,

If you need urgent help, call 999 immediately

If you are unsure and need advice, please call 0113 222 4202

If you need further information, please take a look on our site

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