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Honour Based Abuse – Day of Memory 2024

09 July 2024

Women and men across the UK have been killed by their families for bringing ‘shame’.

This 14 July, we are supporting the Karma Nirvana Day of Memory 2024 to remember those who have lost their lives to Honor Based Abuse (HBA) and raise awareness of how people can access support for themselves and others.

Every year, we host our Day of Memory event, dedicated to remembering Shafilea Ahmed on her birthday, the 14th of July. Shafilea, a British-born girl, was tragically murdered by her parents at the age of 17 in 2003, due to her refusal to accept a marriage.

This day serves as a poignant reminder of Shafilea’s story, and the countless lives lost to HBA.

There is currently no statutory definition of HBA however it is considered to be:

‘a crime or incident which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community’

HBA is a form of domestic abuse and a serious issue, with victims generally experiencing abuse for much longer than other forms of domestic abuse. Victims of HBA are also seven times more likely to experience abuse form multiple perpetrators and are at greater risk of serious risk or homicide, with Home Office figures suggesting there are approximately on HBA killings in the UK each year. This is likely to be an underestimate.

HBA can take many forms: domestic abuse/violence, sexual harassment, assault and rape, psychological abuse, child abuse, kidnapping, false imprisonment, Female genital Mutilation, threats to kill, forced marriage, coercive and controlling behaviours, stalking, house arrest, servitude, isolation from family and community, denial of further education or employment, excessive restrictions on freedom, and social activities, abandonment or sending someone back to their country of origin, dowry abuse, forced suicide, and murder – so called “honour killing”.

Victims are often abused, disowned, or sometimes killed in the name of ‘honour’. Many crimes are planned and organised by more than one individual.

HBA affects all genders, however girls and women may be at increased risk following a refusal or breakdown of an arranged or forced marriage, termination of an unwanted pregnancy or defying parents.

LGBTQ+ and disabled people are also amongst the most vulnerable.

HBA might also be committed against people who become involved with a boyfriend or girlfriend from a different culture or religion and whose attitude and behaviour (clothes, activities, and career) might not be considered traditional within a particular culture.

For some communities, the maintaining the ‘honour’ of the family or community is more important that the safety and wellbeing of individuals. To compromise a family’s honour or ‘break the honour code ‘is to bring dishonour and shame to the family or community. However cultural tradition does not mean HBA is acceptable.

Accessing support or reporting concerns

You can access specialist support, advice and information at:

Find more Domestic Abuse support organisation on the Torus website.

Find out more about reporting concerns about Safeguarding and abuse.

In an emergency, always dial 999 - if you are unable to speak always press '55' when prompted to confirm an emergency.

Follow the campaign online using #WeRemember and read the manifesto and share.

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