Honour-Based Abuse in the UK: What Data? What Happens?

The importance of evidence-based policy is well-recognised. Without evidence, how can people plan policies that will have the desired outcome? An essential requirement for evidence is good data. A lack of good data on Honour-Based Abuse in the UK means that policy is not currently robustly evidence-based. There is no way of knowing, therefore, if it is effectual, or what might be better.

Data is collected on Honour-Based Abuse by a number of stakeholders. For instance, police forces, children’s and adult’s social-services, housing officers, health professionals, and schools all have statutory obligations to collect some relevant data, and often collect more. However, this collection appears to be idiosynratic and to differ widely across the country and different sectors.

Evidence from the national helpline for victims of Honour Based Abuse suggests this is a significant problem in the UK. Since its foundation in 2008, the helpline at Karma Nirvana has received 100,000 calls. These are both from victims, and from other stakeholders (family, friends, teachers, social workers etc.) who are concerned about someone they think is at risk, or already experiencing Honour-Based Abuse. In 2021/2022, Karma Nirvana heard from 1,130 professionals who were supporting victims of Honour-Based Abuse.

This project, funded by a British Academy Innovation Fellowship, seeks to: 1) map key stakeholders who are, and who should be, collecting data on Honour-Based Abuse (including forced marriage); 2) identify and share best-practice; 3) identify key barriers to data-sharing faced by stakeholders; 4) co-develop ways to overcome them.

Our aim is to improve data-collection so that policy aimed at ending Honour-Based Abuse, and supporting those at risk, can be properly evidence-based. This would mean policy could be more effectively monitored and evaluated, and lessons could be learned about effective (and less effective) policies and interventions. Ultimately, we hope this would lead to an end to Honour-Based Abuse in the UK.

Come back as this project develops for more updates! If you are a stakeholder who collects data, and you’d be willing to be interviewed for this project, please get in touch! (Email: helen.mccabe@nottingham.ac.uk)

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