Statistics on so-called “honor-based” abuse offenses, England and Wales, 2020 to 2021

Output frequency: Annually

Upcoming press release: Home Office statistics publication schedule

Statistician in charge of the Home Office: John Flatley

Press inquiries: [email protected], Phone: 0300 123 3535

Public inquiries: [email protected]

This release contains statistics on so-called Honor-Based Abuse (HBA) offenses recorded by police in England and Wales.

1. introduction

This publication provides information on the number of offenses recorded by police that have been identified as being related to so-called “honor-based” (HBA) abuse. These data have been collected by the Ministry of the Interior from the police forces on a mandatory basis since April 2019 and have been published for the second time. The data has been released to shed light on the level of these offenses handled by the police and to encourage other victims to come forward and report these offenses to the police.

For the purposes of this collection, so-called HBA crimes follow the definition of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service:

an incident or crime involving violence, threats of violence, intimidation, coercion or abuse (including psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse) that has or may have been committed to protect or defend an individual’s honor , a family and / or community for alleged or perceived violations of the family and / or community code of conduct.

More information on HBA can be found on the website Crown prosecution service website.

The collection includes, but is not limited to, the crimes of forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). When a forced marriage or FGM offense is registered by the police, it should always be marked on their case management system, with an HBA identifier. The collection also identifies the number of FGM offenses that have been reported and recorded by the police following referral through the mandatory FGM reporting obligation. This obliges regulated health and social services professionals and teachers in England and Wales to report known cases of FGM in children under 18 to the police. The FGM tax came into effect on October 31, 2015.

Any other reportable offense may also be marked as HBA-related by the police. The types of offenses identified as being related to ABB are listed in the Key Findings section.

As with all crime figures recorded by the police, these data only cover crimes that have been reported and recorded by the police. It is recognized that HBA is a hidden crime and victims may be reluctant to bring it to the attention of police or other authorities. These data therefore likely represent only a small proportion of actual HBA violations committed in the year ending March 2021.

The data in this version is labeled as experimental statistics. This designation is used for newly developed or innovative official statistics that are under evaluation. Experimental statistics are developed under the direction of the head of the statistical profession. They are published to involve users and stakeholders at an early stage in assessing their relevance and quality. Users and stakeholders can comment on the statistics in this release and their future direction through the Home Office Crime Statistics Team email address: [email protected]

Although the police have been asked to confirm the accuracy of the statistics in this release, the Home Office is aware of a number of data quality issues.

It is known that for some police forces, the identification of HBA-related crimes relies on a police officer or other police personnel remembering to correctly apply the HBA-related identifier to an offense in their area. case management system. Such identifiers are not always correctly applied. Some crimes can be handled by the forces as being related to the HBA, but were not identified as such in the data return to the Home Office. Although checks were carried out to ensure that all FGM or forced marriage offenses were included, the forces may not always have correctly applied an identifier for other HBA-related offenses.

The forces provided record-level data through the Home Office Data Hub (HODH) or in a manual aggregate data return. For forces that provided data to the HODH, the Home Office extracts the number of offenses for each force that were identified by the forces as being related to the HBA. Therefore, HBA counts through the HODH depend on the identifier correctly applied for each respective violation.

In the manual report, the police force submit a quarterly spreadsheet containing the number of HBA-related offenses and the number of FGM and forced marriage offenses.

At the end of the fiscal year, the Ministry of the Interior carried out a series of quality assurance checks on the HBA data collected from the police forces (either through the aggregated declaration or via the HODH).

These include checks:

  • for any significant or unusual number of HBA-related offenses in any force
  • that the offenses of FGM and forced marriage have been correctly identified
  • that the offenses identified as related to ABB appeared to be appropriate

Police forces are then asked to investigate any issues and provide an explanation or resubmit numbers. Once these issues are resolved, the data is then compiled and sent back to the forces for verification. At this point, they are asked to confirm in writing that the data they have submitted is correct and if it is not, then they have the opportunity to revise their figures.

Statisticians from the Ministry of the Interior will continue to work with the police to improve the quality of the data for this collection.

2. Key results

In the year ending March 2021, 2,725 HBA-related offenses were recorded by police in England and Wales. Excluding Greater Manchester Police, who were unable to provide data for the year ending March 2020 following the implementation of a new IT system in July 2019, there had 2,383 HBA-related offenses. This is an increase of 18% from the year ending March 2020 (2,024; see Table 2 in tables published with this release).

Increases in the number of HBA-related offenses recorded by police over the past year could be due to a number of reasons, including:

  • general improvements in crime registration
  • police improve their identification of what is known as the HBA
  • more victims come forward to report these offenses to the police
  • a real increase in these offenses

Additionally, the year ending March 2021 covered some periods when restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic were in place. These restrictions may have affected the level of so-called HBA-related offenses.

As there can be several reasons for the increase in these crimes, caution should be exercised in interpreting the 18% increase in these crimes.

Of the 2,725 HBA-related offenses recorded in the year ending March 2021, there were 78 FGM offenses and 125 forced marriage offenses.

Table 1: Offenses involving so-called “honor-based” abuse recorded by police in England and Wales, year ending March 2021

All HBA related offenses FGM offenses Forced Marriage Offenses Other labeled offenses related to HBA
England and Wales 2,725 78 125 2,522

Source: Crime recorded by police, Ministry of the Interior

In the year ending March 2021, 55 of the 78 (71%) FGM offenses recorded by police were reported to police as part of the FGM reporting obligation.

Data was also available indicating what types of offenses were linked to ABB. In the year ending March 2021, 16% of HBA offenses were assault with injury, 15% assault without injury, and 14% controlling and coercive behavior. All these proportions were similar to those of the previous year[^1]. Other offenses are presented in Table 2.

Table 2: Proportion of offenses involving so-called honor-based abuse recorded by police, by offense category, England and Wales, year ending March 20211

Violation code Category of offense Percentage
8N Assault with injury 16
105A Aggression without injury 15
8U Controlling and coercive behavior 14
3B Threats to kill 8
8R Malicious communications seven
19C Rape of a woman aged 16 and over 6
36 Removal 6
8Q stalking 5
8L Bullying 5
11A Cruelty to children / adolescents 2
9A Public fear, alarm or distress 1
All other offenses 14
Total 100

Source: Crime recorded by police, Ministry of the Interior
1. Numbers may not add to 100 due to rounding.

A breakdown of the number of HBA-related offenses recorded in each Police Zone (ZFP) is provided in Table 4 of the tables published with this release. Data at the ATP level should be interpreted with caution as the volume of these offenses was relatively low in some ATP and, as such, will be subject to some degree of fluctuation from year to year.