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So-called honour-based abuse inquiry launched

4 November 2022

The Women and Equalities Committee launch an inquiry into so-called honour-based abuse, as part of its work on preventing violence against women and girls.

The Committee’s inquiry aims to understand more about the nature and prevalence of abuse committed to protect or defend the so-called honour of an individual, family or community. Research indicates that abuse motivated by so-called honour is most often directed at women, with crimes including murder, female genital mutilation, forced marriage and physical and psychological abuse.

There were 2,887 honour-based abuse-related offences recorded by the police in England and Wales in the year ending in March 2022, though the Home Office says it is a hidden crime and these are likely to only represent a small proportion of the actual offences committed that year.

MPs are interested in exploring the barriers faced by victims of such abuse in seeking support or protection. The police response and the legal protections for victims will also be examined in the inquiry.

Chair's comment

Committee member leading the inquiry, Kim Johnson MP, said:

“Honour-based abuse has been brought to our attention several times as an important area to investigate.

“We know that the true number of offences is likely to be much higher than reported and more must be done to make sure victims feel safe enough to seek help.

“We want to understand more about who commits this kind of abuse and in what contexts, so that it can be better countered, and its victims better served.”

Terms of reference

The Women and Equalities Committee is inviting written submissions by 19 December 2022 addressing any or all the following points:

  • What forms of violence against women and girls are motivated by so-called honour? Are these different forms understood by the Government, police and other agencies?
  • How prevalent is honour-based abuse? What do we know about the background or characteristics of victims and perpetrators?
  • What is known about abuse practised under the pretext of upholding cultural norms? Is there available data and/or research on the prevalence of these practices?
  • What are the challenges or barriers faced by victims of honour-based abuse in seeking support or protection?
  • How would you assess the police response to honour-based abuse? How could it be improved?
  • Is the current law in relation to honour-based abuse adequate to protect victims? If not, what should change?
  • What are the challenges for services supporting victims of honour-based abuse? How could those challenges be mitigated or overcome

We know that this inquiry raises distressing and highly sensitive content. If you believe that you, or someone you know, is in immediate danger, please contact the police on 999.

If you are in need of support, here are some organisations which could assist you:

  • Freedom Charity - UK-based charity formed to give support to victims of forced marriage and violence upon women thought to have brought dishonour on their family. Helpline: 0845 607 0133 or text the words 4freedom: to 88802
  • The Halo project - A national project run by and for the black and minoritised community aiming to eliminate forced marriage, honour based abuse and female genital mutilation.
  • The Asian Women’s Centre - They offer ‘support to women and children who have been affected by domestic abuse, forced marriages, honour based and faith-based abuse. The centre are part of a pan-London partnership and on their Projects page they give links to other community based organisations working in the same field.

Important information about making a submission 

Please read this section before making a submission. This information is particularly important for people making written submissions in an individual capacity, and about their own lived experience. 

Written evidence must address the terms of reference as set out above, but please note that submissions do not have to address every point. Guidance on giving evidence to a select committee of the House of Commons is available

Individual cases 

In line with the general practice of select committees the Women and Equalities Committee is not able to take up individual cases. If you would like political support or advice you may wish to contact your local Member of Parliament.

How your submission will be treated  

The Committee has discretion over which submissions it accepts as evidence, and which of those it then publishes on its website. If your submission is accepted by the Committee, it will usually be published online. It will then be available permanently for anyone to view and may be found online by using search engines. It cannot be changed or removed. If you have included your name or any personal information in your submission, that will normally be published too. Please consider how much personal information you want or need to share.  

Your contact details will never be published. 

Evidence accepted by the Committee is protected by parliamentary privilege. However, if published evidence suggests that criminal behaviour has occurred, there is no bar on external bodies investigating that behaviour, which may lead them to find independent evidence which could be put before a court. 


Decisions about publishing evidence anonymously are made by the Committee. If you would like to ask the Committee to accept your submission anonymously (meaning it will be published but without your name) please tick the box when you make your submission. This lets the Committee know what you would like but the final decision will be taken by the Committee. 

If you would like to request that your submission be published anonymously, then you are responsible for ensuring you cannot be identified from your submission. Please make sure you have not included information that would allow someone to work out who you are.  

We may anonymise or redact some of your submission if it is published, even where you have not requested this.  

Confidential submissions  

The Committee may decide to accept evidence on a confidential basis. Confidential submissions remain available to the Committee but are not published or referred to in public.  

If you would like to ask the Committee to accept your submission confidentially, please tick the box when you make your submission. This lets the Committee know what you would like but the final decision will be taken by the Committee. 

We may treat submissions confidentially, even where you have not requested this.  

Information about other people in your evidence  

If you include personal information about other people in your submission (including your friends and family), the Committee may decide not to publish it. It is advisable to make your submission about your own experiences and to keep information about other people to a minimum. 

Legal cases 

We can’t publish submissions that mention ongoing legal cases. Please do not include details of an ongoing case, or details that are likely to be the subject of future proceedings, in your submission. 


If your evidence raises any safeguarding concerns about you, or other people, then the Committee has a responsibility to raise these with the appropriate safeguarding authority. 

If you have immediate safeguarding concerns about yourself or someone else, we would urge you to contact the Police on 999.

Further information

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