Honour Based Abuse

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What is honour-based abuse?

‘Honour-based’ abuse is a crime. It is a form of domestic abuse and is used to control a woman or young person which is carried out by a family or community member. The people who carry out the abuse may say that the woman or young person has brought shame on themselves or their family.

It can take the form of being isolated, threatened, physical violence, extreme pressure and some women have been murdered. Some families/communities abuse women and girls, saying it is because they want to protect the family or community ‘honour’ or ‘izzat’.

  • have a relationship with someone
  • refuse a forced marriage
  • wear make-up or certain clothes or socialising in a way which the family/community disapproves of
  • being, or coming out as, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex.

What does the law say?

Although there is no specific law that covers honour-based abuse, it is covered by existing legislation. For example, things like physical violence, emotional abuse, being threatened or being isolated from others could be covered by the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018.  

Where can you get help and support?

In Scotland there are organisations that specialise in supporting women and children who have experienced ‘honour based’ abuse:

Find out where to get additional support.

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Visit the That’s Not OK campaign page for more information.

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