Women from minority communities can face very different
experiences and barriers. They can experience forms of
violence unique to their community such as forced
marriage, and crimes in the name of
honour. In some communities, the violence can be
perpetrated by extended families.
Domestic abuse can take many forms. Parents who force their
children to marry often justify their actions as protecting their
children and preserving cultural or religious traditions, but this
is a form of domestic abuse. They often do not see anything wrong
in their actions. Every major faith condemns forced
marriage and freely given consent is a prerequisite of
Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh marriage.
Up to 17,000 women in Britain are subjected to ‘honour’ related
violence and an estimated 1,000 British Asian girls are forced into
marriage each year.
Everyone has the right to freely
choose who they should marry and pressure from parents or
extended families should not be accepted as justification for
denying a person the right to choose who they should marry. Forced
marriage is a breach of children’s rights under
the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as an abuse of
Parents control of their children can often be in response to
behaviour they think is unacceptable which can include sexual or
lifestyle behaviour such as wearing make-up, entering into
‘unsuitable’ relationship or engaging in activity that would affect
their ‘family honour,’ cultural or religious ideals.
The government regards forced marriage as an abuse of
human rights and a form of domestic abuse and, where it
affects children and young people, child abuse. It
can happen to both men and women although most
cases involve young women and girls aged between 13 and 30. There
is no “typical” victim of forced marriage. Some may be under 18
years old, or over 18 years old, whilst others may have a
disability. Some may have young children or may be spouses from
Many people who live in close knit communities have lots of
support from within their own community but this support can act as
a barrier to seeking help outside their immediate community.
On occasions where someone has sought help and have experienced
problems or inequalities in accessing services, their personal
experiences can discourage others from seeking help.
People can struggle to cope alone and without the support of
their community. Many women and some men, feel they have no option
but to stay in an abusive relationship because they don’t know how
to access financial support and are dependent on their spouse or
Domestic abuse is a crime.
There is no honour in committing the crime.
There is no shame in reporting the crime.
Report domestic abuse
Report domestic abuse to Cheshire Police on 999
if an emergency or 101 if you do not require
immediate police attendance.
Advice and support
Advice is available from the National Domestic Violence
Helpline - a 24-hour free phone advisory service on
0808 2000 247.
Help and advice is available from the Muslim Women’s
Helpline on 020 8904 8193 or
6715 between 10:00am and 4:00pm