Honour based violence

What is honour based violence?

Honour based violence is a violent crime or incident which may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family or community.

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. For example, honour based violence might be committed against people who:

  • become involved with a boyfriend or girlfriend from a different culture or religion
  • want to get out of an arranged marriage
  • want to get out of a forced marriage
  • wear clothes or take part in activities that might not be considered traditional within a particular culture


Women and girls are the most common victims of honour based violence however it 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
  • being held against your will or taken somewhere you don’t want to go
  • assault

A forced marriage is one that is carried out without the consent of both people. This is very different to an arranged marriage, which both people will have agreed to. There is no religion that says it is right to force you into a marriage and you are not betraying your faith by refusing such a marriage.

We take honour based crime very seriously and deal with each individual case sensitively and confidentially. We work to keep victims safe and prevent further crimes from happening. Our approach has meant that more people than ever are turning to us for help.

When is it a matter for the police?

Always. We can help you and point you towards any additional support that you may need, and will do everything possible to bring the people responsible to justice if this is safe for you. We deal with every incident in a confidential manner and work to protect your safety.

Reporting honour based violence to the police

The Metropolitan Police Service records and investigates all instances of honour based violence, even in cases where there is only a small amount of information or when a victim has not reported it themselves. We do this so that we can provide more protection that could prevent further abuse or violence or in some cases, forced marriage.

Every London borough where the Metropolitan Police Service operates has a team of specially trained officers, in local specialist Community Safety Units, whose responsibility it is to investigate hate crimes and instances of honour based violence and give you the support you need. They work together with our Child Abuse Investigation Command, Safer Schools Officers and Safer Neighbourhood Teams to tackle all honour based violence incidents.

For more information about our Community Safety Units visit our main Metropolitan Police website.


Advice and charities for communities

  • Southall Black Sisters

    A not-for-profit organisation established to highlight and challenge violence against black (Asian and African-Caribbean) women. They offer a range of services.

    Southall Black Sisiters

  • Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation

    A charity providing advice and support in Arabic, Kurdish, Turkish, Dari and Farsi to women, girls and couples living in Britain, in particular helping women facing domestic violence, forced marriage and honour-based violence.

    Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation

  • The Albert Kennedy Trust

    The AKT’s mission is to ensure that all lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans young people are able to live in accepting, supportive and caring homes. It provides a range of services to people who would otherwise be homeless or living in a hostile environment.

    Albert Kennedy Trust

  • Karma Nirvana

    A Derby based charity supporting victims of honour based abuse and forced marriage.

What to do if you are worried about a child. To discuss concerns or make a referral: