Last year, the Lambeth Safeguarding Adults Board conducted a survey to find out what people living and working in Lambeth knew about safeguarding adults.
One finding from this survey was that so-called ‘honour-based violence’ was less likely to be recognised as a form of adult abuse. It is often linked to family members or acquaintances who mistakenly believe someone has brought shame to their family or community by doing something that is not in keeping with the traditional beliefs of their culture. Fear of honour based violence or punishment can also be a barrier to people seeking support when they are suffering abuse or neglect.
Incidents also often have an overlap with other categories of Adult abuse. An adult who is at risk of honour based violence is at risk of significant harm through physical, sexual and psychological and emotional harm. In some cases they are also at risk of being killed.
Indicators that someone may be experiencing ‘Honour Based Violence’ include signs of:
Domestic abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour by partner or family members;
Pressure on the person to go abroad by partner, family, or community members;
Excessive restriction of movement/travel and other activities (such as house arrest);
Increased isolation, and denial of access to the telephone, internet, passport and friends.
Family members cancelling arranged care and support services in place (to limit the opportunities for the adult to disclose concerns to professionals).
Any information or concern that an Adult is at risk of or has already suffered Honour-based violence, should be referred to the police. In an emergency, do not delay, and call 999.
Where the person is an ‘adult at risk’ (vulnerable because they have care needs and are unable to protect themselves from harm), a Safeguarding Adults Concern should be raised with the Local Authority: 0207 926 5555.
For more information on honour based violence, or to seek support, please visit:
Metropolitan Police Service’s resource outlining the help and support available from Community Safety Units. Remember, you do not have to wait for a crime to be committed to approach the police to talk about your fears. They are here to help you and make you safe even if nothing ‘criminal’ has happened yet. The police take honour based violence very seriously and take great care to handle all cases with sensitivity and confidentiality.
Karma Nirvana, a national charity working to support victims of forced marriage and honour-based violence. They run a 24/7 helpline for victims as well as those working to support victims. To get free and confidential help, call 08000 5999 247.