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Honour Based Abuse

Honour based abuse is a term used to refer to a range of offences covered by existing legislation. It is a group of practices which are used to control behaviour within families or other social groups in order to ‘protect’ perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour. Honour based abuse can occur when perpetrators feel that a relative has shamed the family and / or community by breaking their honour code. For young victims it is a form of child abuse and a serious abuse of human rights.

Honour based abuse can take many forms and can include forced marriage, domestic and/or sexual abuse, rape, physical assaults, harassment, kidnap, threats of violence (including murder), witnessing violence directed towards a sibling or indeed another family member, and female genital mutilation. Female genital mutilation is an offence under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, and can result in severe physical and psychological injuries and even death. It is almost always restricted to female children and young people i.e. those under 18 years old.

Honour based abuse can be especially difficult for young people to discuss as the people who may be expected to protect and help them may have carried out the abuse or approved of the abuse and let it happen. Young people can be especially fearful as they may not want to ‘dishonour’ their family or they worry that they may be lose contact with their family altogether.

At Enfield County School for Girls we raise awareness and educate out students about the issues around honour based abuse and we will always report any concerns we have about a child or young person.