Surge in ‘honour-based’ abuse cases

Recent figures suggest a stark rise of over 60% in “honour-based” abuse offences recorded by English police forces over the past two years, as reported by The Guardian. 

This trend, encompassing forced marriage, rape, death threats, and assault, reflects 2,594 cases reported in 2022 compared to 1,599 in 2020. While increased victim reporting and better police identification contribute to this surge, underlying factors such as heightened global political and social tensions also play a significant role.

Imran Khodabocus, a director at the Family Law Company, said the figures reflected his experience that honour-based offences “are not just rising, but getting more severe”. He added:

“In cases like this, you can’t minimise the impact of global political and social issues. In my experience, some people are becoming more rigid in their thinking and this is creating more instances where they feel they must defend their, or their families’, honour.”

The Metropolitan police, West Midlands, and Greater Manchester forces top the charts for honour-based abuse reports, with the Met recording 1,213 cases, including various violent acts and forced marriages.

Khodabocus highlights court delays exacerbating the problem, expressing surprise at the persistence of forced marriage cases despite recent legal reforms. Women’s rights organisation IKWRO echoes concerns, emphasising the need for nuanced approaches and enhanced education for authorities to recognise and combat such abuse effectively.

Government measures, including raising the legal age of marriage and establishing a dedicated forced marriage unit, aim to address the issue. However, challenges persist, with court delays leaving victims vulnerable for prolonged periods.

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