Honour Killings and Forced Marriage

‘Britain’s Lost Women’ campaign to create an annual day of remembrance for victims came to fruition after fashion bible Cosmopolitan teamed up with Karma Nirvana – a charity that works to end forced marriage and honour killings. The date chosen is July 14th. You can read more at:


THis announcement was made at the same time as the House of Lords was considering a report on Honour Killings from the Henry Jackson Society and authored by Emily Dyer:

Click to access Honour-Killings-in-the-UK.pdf

These are the first few paragraphs of the  executive summary of the report:

Thousands of people living in the United Kingdom are at risk of losing their lives to an unwritten code of conduct known as ‘honour’. Girls across the UK are raised to believe that their purpose in life is to uphold the ‘honour’ of the family. If they bring dishonour, they will pay the price with their lives. Women have come to the UK in order to escape violent cultural practises abroad – from female genital mutilation to the threat of ‘honour’ killings – yet have been met with the same brutality and dangers here.

Successful efforts by campaigners to raise awareness of these issues, as well as provide victim support, are not being matched by those whose responsibility it is to protect British citizens: the government. Many victims are still being let down by a government that is failing, not only to deal with crises, but to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Scale of the Problem
– The exact number of ‘honour’ killings each year in the UK is unknown. While, in 2003, the police estimated that 12 ‘honour’ killings took place in the UK in 2002, the numbers are likely to be much higher;
– According to our database of killings or attempted killings, 29 cases have been reported in the media to have taken place within the UK in the last five years (11 in 2010, five in 2011, nine in 2013 and four cases in 2014);
– Of all reported cases since 2010, 11 were attempted killings, and 18 were actual killings.

Nature of the Problem
Why do ‘Honour’ Killings Occur?
– While the reasons can vary broadly, the majority of reported cases since 2010 have occurred due to the victim bringing ‘dishonour’ to the family as a result of an issue relating to marriage or the victims’ choice in partner. An ‘honour’ killing, therefore, takes place in order to erase the ‘dishonour’ of the family within the wider community.

Who is Involved in ‘Honour’ Killings?
– The majority of victims of ‘honour’ killings and Honour Based Violence (HBV) are girls and women. Of all reported UK cases in the past five years, the majority of victims were females. However, men are also victims of ‘honour’ killings. In the cases of male victims reported in the media over the past five years, the perpetrators usually included the families of a current or ex- partner;

– Young people are those at most risk of HBV. Where the ages of the victims of reported ‘honour’ killings are known, just less than half were 25 or under – all but three of whom were female. The ages of victims in reported cases ranged from 16 to 56 years old. While the total number of perpetrators of reported ‘honour’ killings and attempted killings throughout the past five years remains unspecified within open source material, the ages (of those whose age was known) ranged from 17 to 59 years old.

Relationships between Victims and Perpetrators
– The majority of reported killings have been carried out by close family members. In a little over half (15) of all cases of UK ‘honour’ killings reported in the media over the past five years, the perpetrators were current or former partners and/or that partner’s family. In another nine cases, the victims’ parents were involved (of which two cases also included the victims’ male siblings) in the killing.

Roles of Women in ‘Honour’ Killings
– While men commit the majority of ‘honour’ killings, there are cases in which women have played both active and passive roles. While these women share the belief that a woman can bring shame and dishonour, there is also immense pressure put on all family members to guard the ‘honour’ of the family. 

Please go to the link above to read the full Executive Summary.


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