Skip to content

Honour based violence

It is estimated there are up to 100 victims of forced marriage (Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office – Forced Marriage Units stats Jan-Dec 2013) a year in Wales.

Forced marriage is a form of abuse and a human rights violation. The responsibility for policy relating to forced marriage rests jointly with the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. They have established the Forced Marriage Unit whose role it is to provide information and support to victims of forced marriage and provide advice to professionals handling cases. Further information is available from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website (external link). 

The Welsh Government is committed to developing a culture that challenges abusive behaviour. Everyone has the right to live fear free. We are working with key organisations to raise awareness of traditional harmful practices in Wales.

The All Wales Honour Based Violence Leadership Group has been set up to take forward actions in Wales in regards to Honour Based Violence, Forced Marriage and FGM.  

For advice and support on honour based violence issues, please call the Live Fear Free Helpline on 0808 80 10 800 or see the Live Fear Free website (external link) for further information.

Case Studies

Amira’s* story

UK Pakistani born, Amira, was subjected to two forced marriages. When she was 16, she went to Pakistan on what she thought was a family holiday; she was actually going there to get married. 

She was pressurised into marrying her mum’s nephew (her cousin). Emotional blackmail was used as she was asked to consider the marriage a favour, allowing the man to come to the UK and work, so he could send money back to relatives in Pakistan. She was also threatened with physical violence including beheading with her father holding a knife to her throat. She was forced to go through with the marriage and together the family returned to the UK. 

Seven months later, Amira’s new husband said he was not happy in the marriage and disappeared. 

Seven years later Amira was invited to Pakistan for a holiday by her uncle (her father’s brother) and his wife. She was excited to go until upon arrival in Pakistan, she was told she had to marry her uncle’s son (her cousin). Her cousin had been living in the UK and had flown to Pakistan for the wedding. Her father, who had pre-planned the wedding, was due to arrive shortly after Amira to avoid arousing suspicion; he knew that she would not have agreed to the marriage in the UK. 

Amira refused to comply and was beaten by her uncle. She was locked in a room but was able to escape through an open window. She phoned her UK employer for help, who in turn contacted the British High Commission. They arranged a flight for Amira back to the UK. 

When she arrived back home, her father insisted that she had to return to Pakistan and go through with the marriage. By not doing so, she was “shaming him and the entire family”. She was, however, offered the alternative of leaving the family home and being disowned. She chose to leave and reported the crime to the Police. 

She was referred to specialist service BAWSO in Wales and was provided with accommodation in a refuge. 

Amira says, “It’s been 11 months now that I have lived in this refuge. I have gone from being heartbroken and disillusioned from being disowned by my family to feeling happy. To me this is not a refuge, it is home”.

Nasrin’s* story 

At the age of 17, Nasrin was forced by her family to marry a man in Yemen. Her husband-to-be was a 40-year old Yemeni student who lived and studied in the UK. 

Her husband-to-be gave her brothers money and she was forced into the marriage. Her husband brought her to the UK from Yemen. He was violent, beating her regularly. They had a child together.

Nasrin reported the abuse and was referred to Bawso’s refuge, by Police and Social Services. 

Nasrin says, “I feel safe here because I know my husband has no clue about my whereabouts. He cannot trace me. I am grateful for Bawso’s support as Bawso paid my subsistence and accommodation fees. Also through Bawso I registered and attended the Freedom Programme and English classes.”

*Names have been changed to protect the survivor’s identity.