Processes for Recording Honour Based Abuse

Report and stakeholder event on Organisational Processes for Data Recording of Honour Based Abuse, Forced Marriages and Female Genital Mutilation.


Recording HBVA


This research, funded by an N8 PRP Small Grant award, assesses, maps and suggests ways to improve police data recording for honour based abuse (HBA).

There exists a gap in terms of consistent recording of HBA crimes and incidents across police forces due to a range of factors (Dyer, 2015) that leads to inconsistent justice outcomes for victims. This project underlines the importance of accurate and ethical recording of HBA that has been acknowledged by the police since 2015 (HMIC 2015). With the aim to suggest ways to improve identification and recording of HBA, this project collated and analysed data in relation to existing recording patterns followed by the police. The project also sought to address whether a new definition of HBA would enable consistent, timely and accurate recording and approaches to HBA across police forces.

Key findings

The gap in clear recording procedure for HBVA. There are clear procedures that are followed for recording of FM and FGM, and these appear to be followed consistently across police forces. 

We recommend that clear HBA pathways be established within recording systems to ensure police are able to record HBA clearly. Police recording of HBA is affected by four key categories which can lead to inaccuracies: (1) Over-recording, (2) Under-recording, (3) Creative recording; (4) Mis-recording.

There is fear from police of appearing culturally insensitive when responding to victim-survivors from minoritised backgrounds. This can mean that appropriate questions are not always asked to victim-survivors, and cases of HBA may be dismissed/recorded as domestic abuse.

We suggest replacing existing DASH risk assessment questions with alternative questions based on survivor experiences.

We recommend that the internal ‘safety net’ be formalised and streamlined, alongside better training. Police often rely on a ‘safety net’ within forces – lack of confidence in identifying HBA at the onset means they depend on others within the force to make decisions. This can sometimes lead to delays for victims but may make first responders more confident. 

We strongly recommend that formal pathways are established that acknowledge the role of specialist third sector organisations in supporting police responses to HBA. Engagement with third sector organisations occurs at crisis point or when cases are complex, rather than through formal structured pathways. 

To support police to improve their knowledge in this area, we recommend joint training to be conducted alongside NGOs. Learning from what victim-survivors tell us is helpful. The format of the training should be survivor defined.

Report date: April 2023.

The research was conducted by Professor Geetanjali Gangoli (Durham University), Dr Nikki D’Souza (Northumbria University), Dr Kate Butterby (Durham University), Ayurshi Dutt (Durham University). Research was undertaken in collaboration with Lancashire Police, Cheshire Constabulary, Durham Constabulary, Cleveland Constabulary, and Greater Manchester Police.

The research team would like to thank Professor Aisha K. Gill, University of Bristol, for her work as an advisor on this project. 

For further information please contact Professor Geetanjali Gangoli by email (

Stakeholder Engagement Event

n.b. The audio recording for ‘Participants’ Voices’ begins at 00:00:14. 

Initial Findings

Participants' Voices