“Honour”-based violence

The terms "honour crime" or "honour based violence" or "izzat" embrace a variety of crimes of violence (mainly but not exclusively against women), including assault, imprisonment and murder, where the person is being punished by their family or their community.

They are being punished for actually, or allegedly, undermining what the family or community believes to be the correct code of behaviour.

In transgressing the correct code of behaviour, the person shows that they have not been properly controlled to conform by their family and this is to the shame or dishonour of the family

Forced Marriage

Forced marriage is a form of domestic abuse, an abuse of human rights and, where it affects children and young people, child abuse. It can happen to both men and women although most cases involve younger women and girls aged between 13 and 30.

However, there is no "typical" victim of forced marriage. Some are under 16 years old, although many are older. Some victims have a disability, some have young children and some are spouses from overseas.

Some forced marriages take place in the UK with no overseas element, while others involve a prospective partner coming from overseas or a British citizen being sent abroad.

There is a clear difference between a forced marriage and an arranged marriage. In arranged marriages, the families of both spouses take a leading role in arranging the marriage but the choice whether or not to accept the arrangement remains with the prospective spouses.
In forced marriage, one or both spouses do not (or, in the case of some adults at risk, cannot) consent to the marriage and some element of duress is involved. Duress can include physical, psychological, sexual and emotional pressure.

The main support organisations in Scotland for female victims, who make up 85% of all cases, are Shakti Women's Aid in Edinburgh and Hemat Gryffe Women's Aid in Glasgow.

No-one should ever be emotionally or physically forced into marrying someone they do not want to. If you are worried that this might be happening to you or someone you know, support is available. For advice, visit *** yourrightscotland.org *** or call the free 24-hour helpline on 0800 027 1234. Remember that this is not your fault and you are not alone. Do not be afraid to speak out.

See link for Scottish Government information on forced marriage.


Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a collective term for all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs, whether for cultural, religious or non-therapeutic reasons. It may also be called female circumcision or female genital cutting.

The practice is extremely painful and has serious health consequences, both at the time when the mutilation is carried out, and in later life. It can also be psychologically damaging.
The procedure is typically performed on girls aged between 4 and 13, but in some cases FGM is performed on new born infants or on young women prior to marriage or pregnancy. Many of the victims are therefore young and vulnerable. A number of girls die as a direct result of the procedure, from blood loss or infection. In the longer term, women who have undergone FGM are twice as likely to die in childbirth, and four times more likely to give birth to a stillborn child.

In some countries/communities FGM is a deeply rooted, traditional cultural practice. Reasons cited for it include: maintaining virginity, chastity or fidelity; custom, tradition and social acceptance (especially for marriage); hygiene and aesthetic reasons (the external female genitalia may be considered dirty and unsightly); and the myth that it enhances fertility.

Some may believe that it is a religious obligation but no religion requires FGM. Neither the Bible nor the Koran endorses FGM and the leaders of all major religions have condemned it.
There is no evidence that this practice is widespread within communities in Scotland, although evidence can be difficult to establish.

FGM is illegal in Scotland. see links for Scottish Government information and Health Scotland information.