To read this content please select one of the options below:

Females perpetrating honour-based abuse: controllers, collaborators or coerced?

Lis Bates (University of Bristol, Bristol, UK)

Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research

ISSN: 1759-6599

Article publication date: 4 June 2018

Issue publication date: 1 November 2018




The purpose of this paper is to address an emerging international debate about the involvement of females in perpetrating honour-based abuse (HBA). Presenting new empirical data, this study profiles the different roles played by women, discussing them in relation to gender and their relationships to victims, and argues that acknowledgement of female perpetrators does not fundamentally challenge a gendered interpretation of HBA.


Some 1,474 case files flagged as HBA were gathered from one police force in Southern England and 50 domestic abuse agencies across England and Wales. Descriptive statistics explored which victim, perpetrator and abuse characteristics were associated with female perpetration. Case narratives were thematically analysed to profile the different roles females played. Findings were explored in eight key informant interviews with caseworkers from the services data came from.


This paper finds that: females are more involved in perpetrating HBA than other forms of domestic abuse, but primary perpetrators are still mostly male; victims are overwhelmingly female; the context for abuse is the maintenance of patriarchal values on gender roles; female perpetrator roles vary, meriting further exploration; and female perpetrators can be conceptualised within a gendered framework.


This paper presents important new empirical data to advance the debate on the role of women in perpetrating HBA. It will be of interest to academics, researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners alike.



This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in the UK under a PhD scholarship grant.


Bates, L. (2018), "Females perpetrating honour-based abuse: controllers, collaborators or coerced?", Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 293-303.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles