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Honour based abuse, forced marriage & FGM

Honour based abuse, forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) are grave violations of human rights. Everyone has the right to live without fear, to not be abused, threatened or controlled

What is honour based abuse?

So called ‘honour based abuse’ is defined as “an incident or crime which has, or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or the community.”

It is described as a way to prevent a person from bringing shame to a family or community, or punish them for doing so. Honour based abuse will often go hand in hand with forced marriages or female genital mutilation (FGM), although this is not always the case.

Honour based abuse can come in many forms and can include physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse.

What is forced marriage?

Forced marriage is where one or both spouses do not, or cannot consent to the marriage and duress is used by family, friends or the community to get the person(s) to marry. Duress can come in many forms and can include threats, physical, sexual and psychological abuse, and emotional pressure. It is a form of domestic abuse and can in some cases be child abuse.

Forced marriage is not the same as an arranged marriage where both parties fully consent to the marriage.

What is FGM?

FGM comprises of all procedures involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or any other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

FGM is sometimes known as female genital ‘cutting’ or female circumcision. Communities tend to use local names for referring to this practice, including sunna, gudniin, halalays, tahur, megrez and khitan, among others.

FGM is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15, but can also occur in adults.

FGM is child abuse and is a violation of a girl’s human rights. It is illegal in the UK with a penalty of up to 14 years in prison for anyone found guilty of FGM crimes, including if an individual is taken overseas to undergo FGM.

Reporting Honour based abuse, forced marriage & FGM

If you or someone you know is a victim of abuse, violence or forced marriage please report it online via or if you wish to speak with someone call 101 or alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Always dial 999 in an emergency.

Advice and further information:

  • Dorset County You First: Responsible for outreach, refuge and safe house provision across the county of Dorset – 0800 0325204
  • National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247
  • NSPCC FGM Helpline: 0800 028 3550
  • Childline: provides a free 24 hour counselling service for children and young people up to their 19th birthday – 0800 1111
  • Karma Nirvana Honour Network Helpline: Supporting victims of honour crimes and forced marriages – 0800 5999 247