Honour’ violence, forced marriage and FGM

'Honour' based violence is a form of domestic abuse and a controlling mechanism which is perpetrated by immediate and extended family members on women who are considered to have brought shame on themselves, their family and the community.  Victims may experience isolation, threats, physical violence and extreme emotional pressure and may be murdered in order to protect so-called cultural and religious beliefs (Hemat Gryffe Women’s Aid).

Forced marriage occurs when family members, including extended family members, who use physical violence or emotional pressure to make you to marry someone against your will.  In this situation the individual will normally be coerced into going through with the ceremony.  The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 made it an offence in Scotland to force someone into marriage. This includes:

  • taking someone abroad to force them to marry (whether or not the forced marriage takes place) and

  • marrying someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they're pressured to or not).

There is a clear distinction between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage.  An arranged marriage occurs where both parties consent to the arrangement and is usually a contract between two families. A forced marriage occurs where there is no free and valid consent by one or both parties (Hemat Gryffe Women’s Aid).

Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.  FGM is known by different names including ‘cutting’, ‘female circumcision’, and ‘initiation’. It is also sometimes referred to as ‘sunna’, although FGM predates Christianity and Islam and is not approved by any religion (FGM aware). The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005 made it a criminal offence in Scotland to have female genital mutilation carried out in Scotland or abroad.

Further information and support

Hemat Gryffe Women’s Aid
24 hour helpline: 0141 353 0859
Information and support via email here

A Glasgow based organisation that provides information, safe refuge accommodation, outreach services and follow on services to women, children and young people primarily from the ethnic minority community. Services are free and confidential and include:  culturally sensitive counselling/listening ear service; information on domestic abuse, forced marriage and immigration matters including the immigration rules affecting women living in the United Kingdom on Spousal Visas who have no recourse to public funds.

Shatki Women’s Aid
Phone: 0131 475 2399
Information and support via email here

An Edinburgh based organisation with outreach staff in Dundee, Stirling and Fife. Shakti provides help for black minority ethnic (BME) women, children and young people who are experiencing, or who have experienced, domestic abuse and additional issues such forced marriage, female genital mutilation, immigration rights, and ‘honour-based abuse’ from family, household and community.

Legal Services Agency (LSA)  -  Refugee and Migrant Women’s Project
Phone: 0800 316 8450 or 0141 353 3354 
Tuesdays 2pm-4pm
Information via email here

A Law Centre and Charity that provides legal advice and representation to refugee and migrant women and children in Scotland who have an unsettled asylum/immigration position and who have experienced gender-based violence in their country of origin and/or the UK. Details about how to make an appointment and their Glasgow drop in surgery here.

UK Forced Marriage Unit
24 hour advice and helpline: 0800 027 1234  

The Forced Marriage Unit is a joint-initiative with the Home Office.  Information and practice guidelines for professionals protecting, advising and supporting victims.

NSPCC – FGM help
24 hour helpline: 0800 028 3550
Information and support via email here

NSPCC provides information and support for anyone concerned about girls or women at risk of FGM.

Childline
24 hour national helpline: 0800 1111
Information and support via email here
Information and support via 1-2-1 counsellor chat here

A free and confidential service for anyone under 19 in the UK with any issue they’re going through including forced marriage and FGM.

FGM aware

Scottish based information about FGM, indicators of risks, the law and resources.