+1 Recommend
1 collections

      If you have found this article useful and you think it is important that researchers across the world have access, please consider donating, to ensure that this valuable collection remains Open Access.

      Journal of Global Faultlines is published by Pluto Journals, an Open Access publisher. This means that everyone has free and unlimited access to the full-text of all articles from our international collection of social science journalsFurthermore Pluto Journals authors don’t pay article processing charges (APCs).

      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

      Who's policing whom? A look into the policing responses to harmful practices and the role of civic society

      Journal of Global Faultlines
      Pluto Journals


            The United Nations defines harmful practices as: ‘… persistent practices and behaviours grounded on discrimination on the basis of sex, gender and age and other grounds as well as multiple and/or intersecting forms of discrimination that often involve violence and cause physical and/or psychological harm or suffering’. They are commonly perceived to be based on tradition, culture, custom and practice, religion and/or superstition, and in certain communities and societies these practices have been established for so long that they are considered or perceived to be part of accepted cultural norms. Where they have gone unchallenged for multiple generations, they have become ‘normalised’, which often makes it difficult to make the distinction between cultural/traditional norms and enforced harmful and controlling behaviour. Examples of harmful practices include, but are not limited to, female genital mutilation, honour-based abuse, forced marriage, dowry violence and abuse linked to faith and belief, such as witchcraft, possessions and breast ironing – all of which are practiced and are prevalent in the UK today. The focus of this paper is honour based abuse (HBA), which is often applied as a precursor to other harmful practices and which lends itself to highlighting the intersectionality of this largely gendered practice. The role of affected communities is explored, as is how this can lead to a culture of self-policing. A panoptic framework is adopted before conclusions are drawn as to the future of policing in addressing these hidden harms. The aim of this paper is not to provide a comprehensive critical analysis of policing responses to an ever evolving and highly complex crime type, nor is it to present all BAME women and communities as a homogeneous group, but rather to further explore some of the key concepts that arose from discussions and which may go some way to understanding hidden harms that exist in relation to honour and shame.


            Author and article information

            Journal of Global Faultlines
            Pluto Journals
            1 May 2021
            : 8
            : 1 ( doiID: 10.13169/jglobfaul.8.issue-1 )
            : 81-90
            Polly Harrar is Founder of The Sharan Project, a registered charity (England and Wales) supporting South Asian Women in the UK who have been affected by abuse or persecution, including forced marriage, honour abuse, dowry violence, domestic abuse, disownment and cultural conflict. As a strategic leader, she is the joint Chair of the London Harmful Practices Group led by the Metropolitan Police, member of the Home Office National Oversight Group and the Forced Marriage Partnership Board within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Home Office, and an advisory member for the Women's Interfaith Network. She is a recognised Expert Witness on forced marriage and honour based abuse and has an extensive understanding of the wide range of harmful practices faced by BAME women and children, and can regularly be heard speaking on these matters at a national and local level and through mainstream media. Polly.Harrar@ 123456sharan.org.uk
            This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

            All content is freely available without charge to users or their institutions. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission of the publisher or the author. Articles published in the journal are distributed under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

            Custom metadata

            Social & Behavioral Sciences


            1. Bates, L. (2020) Honor-based abuse in England and Wales: ‘Who does what to whom?‘ [online] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1077801220952168. Accessed 13.12.2020.

            2. BBC (2011) Jack Straw criticised for ‘easy meat’ comments on abuse [online] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12142177. Accessed 14.2.21.

            3. Bowling, B., Parmar, A. and Phillips, C. (2003) Policing Ethnic Minority Communities. In Newburn, T. (ed.) Handbook of policing. Willan Publishing: Devon, UK, pp. 528–555.

            4. Dyer, E. (2015) Honour Killings in the UK. Henry Jackson Society pdf. [online] Honour-Killings-in-the-UK.pdf (henryjacksonsociety.org) Accessed 14.2.21.

            5. Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (2017) [online] https://www.iicsa.org.uk/ Accessed 14.2.21.

            6. Inquiry meets with BAME women organisations to promote the Truth Project (2017) [online] https://www.iicsa.org.uk/news/inquiry-meets-bame-women-organisations-promote-truth-project Accessed 14.2.21.

            7. Justice and Safeguarding at NTT DATA (2021) [online] https://uk.nttdata.com/documents/digital-policing-at-ntt-data.pdf Accessed 14.2.21.

            8. Le Roux, E., Bartelink, B.E. and Palm, S. (2017) What is the harm in ‘harmful traditional practices‘? [online] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5c7d541e40f0b603d7852921/PB_What_is_the_harm_S02_18Dec17.pdf Accessed 14.2.21.

            9. Police ‘let down’ honour killing victim (2008) [online] https://www.business-live.co.uk/economic-development/police-let-down-honour-killing-3960985 Accessed 14.2.21.

            10. Reuters (2011) Straw in row over Pakistani men sex abuse comments [online] https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-straw-abuse/straw-in-row-over-pakistani-men-sex-abuse-comments-idUKTRE7071E620110108 Accessed 14.2.21.

            11. Rosenbaum, D.P. (2002) Evaluating multi-agency anticrime partnerships: Theory, design, and measurement issues. Page 178 [online] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228935598_Evaluating_multi-agency_anti-crime_partnerships_Theory_design_and_measurement_issues Accessed 14.2.21.

            12. Sentencing – Ancillary Orders (2019) The Crown Prosecution Service [online] https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/sentencing-ancillary-orders Accessed 14.2.21.

            13. The Huffington Post (2014) Tom Winsor, Chief Inspector of Constabulary, says ‘alternative’ policing is being administered in some parts of Britain [online] https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/01/18/tom-winsor-police-minorities_n_4621880.html Accessed 14.2.21.

            14. The Independent (2014) ‘Shunned, beaten, burnt, raped: The dowry violence that shames Britain’ [online] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/shunned-beaten-burnt-raped-dowry-violence-shames-britain-9803009.html Accessed 15.10.14.

            15. Thiara, R. and Gill, A.K. (2010). ‘Understanding violence against South Asian women: What it means for practice’. In R.K. Thiara & A.K. Gill (Eds.), Violence against women in South Asian Communities. Jessica Kingsley, pp. 29–54.

            16. Wodon, Q., Malé, C. and Onagoruwa, A. (2020) A simple approach to measuring the share of early childbirths likely due to child marriage in developing countries. Forum for Social Economics, 49(2), pp. 166–179.


            Comment on this article