Exploring the role of mothers in ‘honour’ based abuse perpetration and the impact on the policing response

Rachael Aplin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


This article intends to illuminate the role played by mothers within ‘honour’ based abuse (HBA) crime, an issue that is both obscured and under researched. Findings are drawn from 100 HBA investigations (2012–2014) and fifteen semi structured interviews (2016) with specialist police officers in one UK police force. The findings show that mothers play fundamental, indeed “massive” role in perpetrating honour abuse against daughters. Mothers inflict violence, sometimes with an intention to induce an abortion; they inflict hard psychological abuse and condone the violence inflicted by other male relatives, mainly sons. This article challenges the ability for mothers to effectively safeguard child victims of HBA. Police under recording of female perpetration is apparent. Victim loyalty and reluctance to prosecute mothers contributes to the blurred of boundaries between mothers as ‘perpetrators’ and mothers as secondary ‘victims’ acting under duress. Such factors adversely affect the policing response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Early online date17 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


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