This toolkit aims to support and assist education staff, partner agencies and CYP practitioners in their work with children, young people and families, providing information, advice and resources specific to FGM, Honour-based Violence (HBV) and Forced Marriage (FM).

Introduction

Honour Based Abuse (HBA) and Forced Marriage (FM) covers harmful cultural practices which are often under-reported because those at risk can feel tied by family or community loyalty, be too distressed to speak out or are afraid of the consequences.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) or female circumcision is the term for procedures which involve the partial or total removal of the external female genital organs, or injury to the female genital organs, for cultural, religious, social or other non-medical reasons within families and communities.

More information

Each of the harmful practices are listed in the tabs below, select the relevant tab for more specific information including the law, statutory responsibility and reporting.

The link buttons below give access to  The Petals Web-app  which provides information for professionals and young people specific to FGM, including signs, risks and making referrals; and to the Home Office Forced Marriage Pack for Partners.

A wide range of other useful resources can be found via the Additional Resources button including information in multiple languages.

Petals FGM App
FM Campaign Pack 4 PArtners
additional resources

Law Overview

In the UK, FGM is recognised as child abuse and a crime. Anyone found to be guilty of an FGM offence, including aiding and abetting an offence to take place, faces up to 14 years in prison.

It is unlawful for any UK National, or permanent UK resident to:

  • carry out the act itself
  • assist or arrange for a female to be taken abroad for the purpose of FGM
  • assist a female to mutilate her own genitalia
  • fail to protect a female from FGM

FGM Mandatory Reporting Duty

The mandatory reporting duty requires regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales to report ‘known’ cases of FGM in under 18s which they identify in the course of their professional work to the police as outlined in the Home Office publication: Multi-agency statutory guidance on female genital mutilation

Through a dedicated FGM group, Hampshire Constabulary works in partnership with statutory agencies, specialist services and communities to ensure we focus our work with the national delivery plan to ‘prepare, prevent, protect and pursue’ to stop girls and women coming to harm.

Operational groups in Southampton and Portsmouth focus on the response in the two cities specific to safeguarding, raising awareness, increase reporting, gather intelligence, work with professionals and engage communities to develop and support infrastructures for victims and survivors of FGM.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Law Overview

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 made it a criminal offence in England, Wales and Scotland to force someone to marry. (A criminal offence in Northern Ireland under separate legislation).

This includes:

  • taking someone overseas to force them to marry (whether or not the forced marriage takes place)
  • marrying someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they are pressured to or not)

Forced Marriage Protection Orders (FMPO)

It is possible for victims or those at risk to apply for a Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO). As a civil law measure, an application for a FMPO would be made in the family court. Read guidance from the Ministry of Justice on taking out an FMPO.

Failure to comply with the requirements or terms set out in a FMPO is a criminal offence and can result in a sentence of up to 5 years in prison.

 

Violence against Women and Girls

The government’s commitment to end HBV and FM is embedded in the cross-government Ending Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy: 2016 to 2020. The strategy is underpinned by effective partnership working at both a local and national level.

The VAWG approach recognises that victims of HBV and FM crimes are disproportionally female. The approach acknowledges VAWG as a fundamental abuse of human rights and women’s rights. The UK government has signed and ratified the United Nations call to all states to prevent and respond to violence against women: The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Law Overview

There is no statutory definition of HBV, the CPS and Home Office adopt the following definition of HBV:

“Honour-based” violence is a crime or incident which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community.”

As such, there is no specific offence of “honour-based” crime” – it is an umbrella term to encompass various offences covered by existing legislation. HBV can be described as a collection of practices, which are used to control behaviour within families or other social groups to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour. Such violence can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code.

FM and FGM are considered forms of HBV – harmful practices associated to cultural or socio-conventional motives which have harmful consequences; these also include harms such as Breast Ironing and dowry abuse.

 

Violence against Women and Girls

The government’s commitment to end HBV and FM is embedded in the cross-government Ending Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy: 2016 to 2020. The strategy is underpinned by effective partnership working at both a local and national level.

The VAWG approach recognises that victims of HBV and FM crimes are disproportionally female. The approach acknowledges VAWG as a fundamental abuse of human rights and women’s rights. The UK government has signed and ratified the United Nations call to all states to prevent and respond to violence against women: The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES