So-called 'Honour Based Abuse'
So-called ‘honour-based’ abuse (HBA) is abuse and encompasses crimes which have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community, including:
- Forced marriage (FM)
- Female genital mutilation (FGM)
- Other practices such as breast ironing.
Due to their own cultural upbringing and beliefs, perpetrators of HBA may not recognise these situations as abusive and believe that they are doing what is ‘right’ or ‘best’ for their child; for example, they may believe it is essential for a girl to undergo FGM to get married or that ‘breast flattening’ will protect them from unwanted sexual advances. Abuse committed in the context of preserving ‘honour’ often involves a wider network of family or community pressure and can include multiple perpetrators. It is important to be aware of this dynamic and additional risk factors when deciding what form of safeguarding action to take.
Regardless of the motivation, all forms of HBA are abuse (regardless of the motivation) and should be handled and escalated as such. It is our responsibility as childcare professionals to put the welfare and protection of the child first; do not let personal relationships, assumptions or cultural beliefs prevent you from acting. If you have concerns that a child or young person is at risk of HBA, or already having suffered HBA, you can contact the Education Safeguarding Service for support and advice.