Signs of honour based abuse and harmful practices – and how to call it out

There are many signs of ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) and other harmful practices. If you’re not aware of them then they can be missed and lives can be lost.


Knowledge empowers us to speak out, so please familiarise yourself with the below signs of ‘honour’-based abuse so you can identify people who might be at risk.

  • House arrest – being kept home with no choice of freedom or movement
  • Threats to kill – those who believe in HBA would kill their loved one in the name of so called ‘honour’, so threats must be taken seriously
  • Accompanied at all times by a family member – they may even speak on their behalf
  • History of siblings/family members being forced into a marriage/other harmful practices
  • Have been reported missing or reported for offences 
  • Becoming withdrawn or displaying a change in behaviour 
  • Showing evidence of self-harm 
  • Presenting a fear of being taken abroad 
  • Family disputes 
  • Being isolated 
  • Request for extended leave during a school term or not returning from overseas visits
  • Displaying behaviour deemed ‘unacceptable’ by family or community – this can be behaving against the family tradition norm, such as being in a relationship the family does not agree with
  • Sudden announcement of an engagement or marriage without any consent 

For further guidance on forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), please also refer to the following links:


Forced Marriage

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)


Calling out abuse and harmful practices

We know that speaking out isn’t easy, but it is only by speaking out that we will eradicate ‘honour’-based abuse and other harmful practices for good.

Savera UK provides fast and confidential support to anyone worried about someone at risk of harmful practices.

If you or someone else is at immediate risk please ring 999