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Honour-based violence

Domestic violence may include honour-based violence, particularly among immigrants. It is a form of violence inflicted on someone who does not abide by the community's norms or rules on individual conduct. In these cases, violence is supposed to cleanse and restore compromised honour.

Honour-based violence is not a separate offence

Honour-based violence is not a separate offence type, but instead can involve menace, coercion, defamation, assault, stalking, trafficking in human beings or sexual crime. Aggravated assaults can also involve mutilation of women’s genitals. 

There are many forms of violence, and it can also be of a mental type. Honour-based violence can take the form of a threat of forced marriage, control, supervision and isolation from the group or community. The extreme form of honour-based violence is murder. 

Honour-based violence is related to the functioning of a family or community

Honour-based violence occurs inside the immediate and extended family. Close relatives may support or even assist the perpetrator of the honour-based violence. The victim is most often a woman, but men and boys can also be targeted if, for example, they are homosexuals. Honour-based violence can impact many people because it is always connected to groups and communities.

Honour-based violence is difficult to turn into statistics

Getting a complete picture of the amount and type of honour-based violence is challenging. Since it is not a separate offence, honour-based violence cannot be turned directly into statistics. It is also largely unreported crime that does not always come to the police’s attention.  To improve situation awareness, the police implemented a classification code to simplify statistics creation during the last year. Honour-based violence often comes to the police’s attention through preventative operations.

Cases are reported directly to the police, and they may also be revealed
•    in connection with other crime investigations
•    through schools
•    through social welfare and health authorities
•    through non-governmental organisations
•    through the victims’ friends. 

Honour-based violence has become increasingly common in Finland

Honour-based violence has become increasingly common in Finland during the last years. Finnish women have also become victims of violence, when they have entered into relationships with men with foreign backgrounds. Young people with an immigrant background may become victims of violence as they live in the crossfire of two different cultures.

Identification is important for the police

Identifying honour-based violence is important for police officers and investigators working in the field. During domestic disturbance calls, for example, the police must have accuracy, listening skills and discretion to identify honour-based violence and intervene in it. During investigation, the police must consider agitators and collaborators related to the crime. 

The objective of the police is to prevent honour-based violence and lower the threshold for reporting it. The police must conduct an active dialogue with the groups where honour-based violence occurs. 

Do you suspect honour-based violence?

  • Do not close your eyes from crime.
  • if you suspect that your friend or acquaintance is the victim of honour-based violence, report it to the police.
  • Tell the victim that violence must not be accepted and that he/she must not submit to the situation. 
  • If you are too scared or anxious to notify the police, you can contact Victim Support Finland first, for example.