“Honour”-based violence (HBV), a form of gender-based violence (GBV), has received increasing interest from media, human rights organisations, academics and the public. A significant increase in the occurrence and reporting of HBV in many parts of the world and its detrimental impact on the health and well-being of women, girls, communities and wider society; marks it as a major public health concern. However, awareness and recognition of HBV in the field of public health is low in many countries and there is little known about its nature, roots and distribution. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
The literature was searched using the Scopus database and a series of search terms related to HBV, GBV and health and well-being.
Definition of HBV and its forms is varied across cultures. There is a lack of consensus on how HBV can be identified over other forms of violence and no explicit theoretical perspectives have been sufficiently developed to deepen the understanding of HBV. Although the findings from the review suggest that HBV forms and patterns may be regionally distinct, causes emanate from gender-based and socio-economic inequalities.
This review has limitations in that it included only English and Spanish language papers and those accessed through Scopus; it therefore may have excluded papers from other languages, countries and databases. Another major weakness in this review was a lack of papers specifically dedicated to HBV. Despite these weaknesses the paper is an attempt to raise awareness and recognition of HBV in public health research, policy and practice domain.
The findings from the review highlight the complexity of tackling HBV in a globalised world. They also provide insights on how a public health model can be used to analyse both the causes and prevention of HBV. Further, a non-culturalised, unprejudiced and inclusive definition is required to flag-up and record HBV cases.
The authors would like to thank Melanie Gee for conducting literature search and Dr Peter Allmark, for his support in preparing this manuscript. The authors are indebted to the anonymous reviewers who helped craft this paper.
Bhanbhro, S., Cronin de Chavez, A. and Lusambili, A. (2016), "Honour based violence as a global public health problem: a critical review of literature", International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 198-215. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJHRH-10-2015-0032
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