Harmful practices

Forced marriage and honour-based crimes are umbrella terms to encompass various offences already covered by existing legislation. Both are a violation of human rights and may be a form of domestic and/or sexual violence.

Honour based violence

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 the community. This can include murder, assaults, disfigurement, enforced suicide, kidnap, false imprisonment, or any other crime motivated by honour. It is 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 the honour code.

Forced marriage

A forced marriage is a marriage in which one or both spouses do not (or, in the case of some adults with learning or physical disabilities, cannot), consent to the marriage and duress involved. Duress can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure.

Forced marriage is a violation of human rights and is contrary to UK Law, including Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

Female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation is a form of child abuse common to some African, Asian and Middle Eastern communities in the UK. This illegal and life-threatening initiation ritual can leave young victims in agony and with physical and psychological problems that can continue into adulthood.

Carried out in secret and often without anaesthetic, it involves the partial or total removal of the external female genital organs. Victims are usually aged between four and ten, but some are babies.

Cases need to be referred to Children’s Services immediately.

Please refer to the Children’s MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) using the Children’s Portal.

Contact Children’s MASH on 020 8379 5555, Monday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm, Friday 9am to 4:45pm. Out of office hours on 020 8379 1000 (select option 2 and you will be transferred to an advisor). You can also email childrensmash@enfield.gov.uk.