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West Midlands Police

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Advice centre

Honour abuse

Honour Abuse

There is no honour in threatening or harming others with violence. In the West Midlands, a small number of women and men experience violence and threats from their family or community to protect perceived family ‘honour’.

There is no religious or cultural basis to this violence. It is a crime and we will take any information received from any source about this subject seriously.

If you are in fear of this kind of violence or believe someone may be suffering, do not underestimate the seriousness of the situation.

Honour Abuse
Honour-based violence takes lives. West Midlands Police takes these issues seriously - we can and will help.

Warning signs of honour-based violence

  • Broken communication between victim and friends
  • Absence from education/the workplace
  • Criticism of the victim for ‘western’ adoption of dress/make-up
  • Restrictions in leaving the house or being accompanied outside the home
  • Depressive or suicidal tendencies in an otherwise happy person.

Forced marriage

Forced marriage should not be confused with an arranged marriage. Parties within an arranged marriage have the choice to accept the arrangement or not. The tradition of arranged marriages has operated successfully within many communities and countries for a very long time.

A forced marriage is where one or both people do not (or in cases of people with learning disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and pressure or abuse is used.

If you are worried you might be forced into marriage or are worried for someone else, please contact us. We understand that people often do not come forward as they are too frightened or feel disloyal to their family and community for speaking out. We want to reassure you that should you take that step, you will be supported at every stage of the process and your views and safety will be taken into account at all times. There is much we can do to protect you.

Forced Marriage Protection Orders

A Forced Marriage Protection Order can help if you are:

  • Being forced into marriage, or;
  • You are already in a forced marriage.

Honour Abuse
A Forced Marriage Protection Order is unique to each case and contains legally binding conditions and directions that change the behaviour of a person or people trying to force someone into marriage.

The aim of the order is to protect the person who has been or is being forced into marriage against their wishes. The court can make an order in an emergency so that protection is in place straightaway. West Midlands

Police can help and support you through this process if you wish.

If there is an immediate threat to life, or the immediate threat of being taken abroad, dial 999. In all other cases, call the non-emergency number 101.

The law

Forced marriage and Breach of a Forced Marriage Protection order (FMPO) are criminal offences under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014. The law:

  • Criminalises the act of forcing someone to marry against their will.
  • Criminalises the act of luring of a person to a territory of a state for the purpose of forcing them to enter into marriage without consent.
  • Criminalises the act of using deception with the intention of causing a person to leave the UK with the intention of forcing that person to marry.
  • Criminalises the breach of a Forced Marriage Protection Order.
  • If a person lacks the capacity to consent, the offence is also capable of being committed by any conduct carried out for the purpose of causing the victim to marry, whether or not it amounts to violence, threats or any other form of coercion.

There is a maximum penalty of seven years for committing a forced marriage offence and a maximum penalty of five years for breach of a forced marriage protection order.

For Government guidance on forced marriage, go to www.gov.uk/forced-marriage

Advice and support

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