Honour-related violence

In Skellefteå, the Social Services Department, schools and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (BUP) run a joint action programme to counter honour-related violence. On this page, you can find checklists to help prevent and counter honour-related violence.

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  • Do you find yourself in a situation where you are unable to decide for yourself how you dress and who you meet?
  • Do you feel pressurised to do things you don’t really want to do?
  • Do you feel threatened?
  • Are you worried about travelling abroad in case you are forced into marriage?
  • Are you subjected to violence or abuse?
  • Are you forced to conceal your sexual orientation?

If so, it may be that you are being subjected to one or more crimes that fall under the umbrella term honour-related violence and oppression. You are not alone! Help is at hand!

You can contact:

  • your teacher and/or school counsellor;
  • social services on 0910 73 50 00 and ask to speak to the duty social worker;
  • the police on 114 14 or, in case of emergency or ongoing crime, 112; or
  • Kvinnofrid free of charge on 020 61 60 60, if you need to speak to someone about your worries.

There are also a number of voluntary organisations that can provide help and support. Learn more about how to contact non-governmental organisations and government agencies below

BRIS

Bris – Children´s Rights in Society offers support to children who find themselves in difficulty and fights for a better society for children. Anyone up to 18 years of age can call anonymously to speak to a counsellor at Bris. Bris pays for the call and your telephone bill will never reveal that you have called Bris. All of Bris’ counsellors have a duty of confidentiality.

For children and young people up to 18 years of age: call 116 111 (24-hour helpline), chat [link to external website] External link. or email [link to external website]. External link.

For adults: call 077 150 50 50 (weekdays 09:00–12:00, normal call charges apply).

Website: www.bris.se [link to external website]. External link.

Elektra

Elektra is an organisation that helps girls and boys who live with honour-related oppression and violence. If you feel that you are vulnerable, Elektra can offer support and even preventive action and attitude adjustment processes for young people living in an honour culture. Elektra welcomes boys and girls.
Website: elektra.fryshuset.se [link to external website]. External link.

TRIS

TRIS – Girls’ Rights in Society is an organisation working to prevent honour-related oppression and violence. Staff at TRIS have many years experience of and expertise in working with the specific target group of people with intellectual disabilities who are subjected to honour-related oppression and violence. TRIS accepts calls from young people, women and members of the LGBTQ+ community. The organisation’s helpline is intended for anyone in the country in need of advice and support on the subject, whether in a professional or private capacity. TRIS also runs a number of results-oriented preventive projects, as well as offering training and consultative services on individual cases.

TRIS also offers temporary sheltered accommodation to women from 18 years of age, with or without intellectual disability, as well as couples with accompanying children, who have been or risk being subjected to honour-related violence, threats and oppression. TRIS also has facilities to take in LGBTQ+ persons who have been or risk being subjected to honour-related violence and oppression. For placements, please contact TRIS on the phone number or email address below.

The TRIS helpline is open on weekdays between 10:00 and 16:00: 010 255 91 91
Email: info@tris.se
Website: www.tris.se [link to external website].

When?

If a child/youth is:

  • subjected to or risks being subjected to violence or threats of violence by their family; or
  • afraid of family members.

This may be expressed in the form of:

stomach aches, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, sleep disorder and resignation.

What should I do?

The law supports meeting the youth on a couple of occasions without contacting a parent/guardian. An extended preliminary assessment will be necessary in order to make an adequate assessment of the need for protection. Consider that youths prefer to meet somewhere that avoids anyone they know finding out that they are meeting with a social worker.

Ask about the youth’s:

  • freedom to come and go, social circle, leisure activities, housework and plans for the future;
  • opportunity and scope to exert influence over their life; and
  • scope for privacy (is their telephone, bag, diary, etc. inspected).

However, when you meet the youth, avoid overly general questions such as:

tell me about your life/how are things at home/can you do whatever you want? etc.

Ask simple/concise questions. Avoid the term honour-related violence when framing your questions. Its meaning and interpretation may vary greatly from person to person.

Responses that suggest that the youth might be subjected to honour-related violence:

  • They have little freedom to come and go; for example, they must return home immediately after school.
  • Their clothes are chosen for them.
  • They are required to dress in a certain way.
  • They are not allowed to socialise with boys/girls.
  • They are not allowed to socialise with friends in their leisure time.
  • They do not pursue any leisure activities.
  • They are no allowed to take part in certain subjects and activities at school, such as PE, excursions, class trips, etc.
  • They have a great deal of responsibility at home at the expense of school work.
  • They are threatened and/or beaten.
  • They are threatened with being sent back to their parents’ homeland.
  • They are controlled/persecuted by family members.
  • They are not allowed to have a boyfriend/girlfriend of their own choosing.

And if...

  • The family has a record of honour-related threats and violence.
  • The youth’s telephone and personal belongings are inspected by parents/siblings.
  • The youth has heard rumours that she or he is to be engaged or married.
  • The youth has no possibility to discuss further education.

Then, bear in mind:

  • Meet the youth alone and listen to what she or he has to say.
  • Show that you believe their story. Remember, you are dealing with a highly motivated young person who has had the courage to communicate their problem. Lying may have become a means to navigate everyday family life. Don’t distrust them, even if not everything adds up.
  • Offer the youth emotional support.
  • Be cautious about solving the problem with the network.

Contact the consultation team for advice and support:

Contact persons: Ida Evesäter, Madelene Davidsson Karlsson, Åsa Lööv Wesslund and Åsa Andersson. Personal and family counselling services, Skellefteå Municipality, 0910 73 50 00.

When?

If a child/youth is:

  • subjected to or risks being subjected to violence or threats of violence by their family; or
  • afraid of family members.

This may be expressed in the form of:

stomach aches, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, sleep disorder and resignation.

What should I do?

The mentor should talk to the student and consult with student healthcare or other staff with knowledge in the field.

Ask about the student’s:

  • freedom to come and go, social circle, leisure activities, housework and plans for the future;
  • opportunity and scope to exert influence over their life; and
  • scope for privacy (is their telephone, bag, diary, etc. inspected).

When you meet the student, avoid overly general questions such as:

tell me about your life/how are things at home/can you do whatever you want? etc.

Ask simple/concise questions. Avoid the term honour-related violence when framing your questions. Its meaning and interpretation may vary greatly from person to person.

Responses that suggest that the youth might be subjected to honour-related violence:

  • They have little freedom to come and go; for example, they must return home immediately after school.
  • Their clothes are chosen for them.
  • They are required to dress in a certain way.
  • They are not allowed to socialise with boys/girls.
  • They are not allowed to socialise with friends in their leisure time.
  • They do not pursue any leisure activities.
  • They are no allowed to take part in certain subjects and activities at school, such as PE, excursions, class trips, etc.
  • They have a great deal of responsibility at home at the expense of school work.
  • They are threatened and/or beaten.
  • They are threatened with being sent back to their parents’ homeland.
  • They are controlled/persecuted by family members.
  • They are not allowed to have a boyfriend/girlfriend of their own choosing.

And if...

  • The family has a record of honour-related threats and violence.
  • The student’s telephone and personal belongings are inspected by parents/siblings.
  • The student has heard rumours that she or he is to be engaged or married.
  • They have no possibility to pursue higher education.

Then, bear in mind:

  • Meet the student alone and listen to what she or he has to say.
  • Show that you believe their story. Remember, you are dealing with a highly motivated young person who has had the courage to signal that all is not well. Lying may have become a means to navigate everyday family life. Don’t distrust them, even if not everything adds up.
  • Offer emotional support.
  • Be cautious about solving the problem within the student’s network.

Contact the consultation team for advice and support:

Contact persons: Ida Evesäter, Madelene Davidsson Karlsson, Åsa Lööv Wesslund and Åsa Andersson. Personal and family counselling services, Skellefteå Municipality, 0910 73 50 00.

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What is violence?

Any act that frightens, injures, causes pain to or degrades another person in order to influence or control them is violence.

Violence occurs in all social groups and at all ages. One cannot say that it only applies to a specific type of person or relationship. In Sweden, domestic violence is a crime.

People use violence in intimate relationships in order to assert power and control over their partner. It is common for the perpetrator of violence to have attempted to exert other forms of control over their partner before they resort to hitting them. Once violence does start it will almost always escalate if the relationship continues.

Definition of domestic violence

Domestic violence is characterised by the victim having a close relationship, and often strong emotional bonds, with the perpetrator. This complicates matters and makes it harder to resist and leave the relationship. This kind of violence generally occurs in the victim’s home. The longer the relationship continues, the more likely the violence is to increase in intensity and severity.

The term domestic violence encompasses all types of violence between people in close relationships: in heterosexual and homosexual relationships, relationships between siblings and within other familial relationships.

Psychological violence

Psychological violence can take many forms but it always has a tremendous impact on the wellbeing of the victim. If you are regularly criticised, questioned, degraded and treated as if you are stupid by your partner, you may well become insecure about yourself and what you think and say. You may even begin to think that what they say is true and that you are to blame for any conflicts or arguments that arise in your relationship. You may do what your partner tells you simply to avoid an argument, threats and/or violence.

If your partner threatens to take their own life if you leave the relationship, that too is psychological violence. They may also threaten to harm you or someone close to you, or harm your pet in some way.

Another form of psychological violence is to prevent you from comforting your children or seeking treatment for yourself or the children.
Psychological violence may involve your partner doing one or more of the following:

  • Saying and doing things to degrade you.
  • Accusing you of something you did not do.
  • Making you believe that you are the one who usually thinks or does the wrong things in the relationship.
  • Behaving unpredictable. What was right yesterday is wrong today; in fact, you can do no right.
  • Checking and offering unsolicited opinions about your social media posts and text messages.
  • Controlling you to the extent that it becomes difficult for you to maintain contact with friends and family.
  • Threatening to harm you or someone you love, whether a person or animal.
  • Scaring you with threatening gestures or comments.
  • Making everyday life difficult for you, for example, by hiding things you need.
  • Breaking furniture or other objects you like.
  • Having fun at your expense, ridiculing and mocking you.
  • Controlling household finances.

Physical violence

Physical violence can range from pulling hair, slapping, pushing, punching, kicking, strangulation or attempted suffocation to assault with a weapon. The perpetrator of physical violence often deliberately targets areas of the body where bruises and other injuries will not attract the attention of outsiders. The violence may even cause injuries that cannot be hidden, such as fractures, eye damage or scratches. bruises and cuts on exposed areas of the body. Physical violence may be a recurring event or remain an ever-present threat.

They are many ways to inflict physical violence. For example, your partner may do one or more of the following:

  • Pinch, shake or restrain you.
  • Pull your hair.
  • Drag or pull you.
  • Throw things at you.
  • Place a stranglehold on you.
  • Punch or kick you.
  • Bang your head against something.
  • Prevent you from sleeping.

Sexual violence

Sexual violence refers to any sexual act committed against your will, ranging from pestering you into having sex all the way to rape. You may be forced to perform degrading sexual acts against your will. Physical violence against your breasts and genitals may also be sexual violence.
Sexual violence can be both physical and psychological; for example, your partner may do one or more of the following:

  • Have sex with you against your will.
  • Make unsolicited sexual remarks to you.
  • Touch you sexually against your will.
  • Pester you into having sex or force you to perform various types of sexual act.
  • Force you to watch pornography against your will.
  • Force you to have sex with multiple partners.
  • Put you in a situation where you feel unable to say no to sex. The victim may feel that the price of refusing sex will be too high.

Sweden has a consent law stating that sex must be voluntary; otherwise, it is a criminal offence. This means that, unless you actively consent to having sex, the offence is the same as if you had said no and your wishes were not respected.

Material violence

Material violence may involve destroying the family’s joint possessions, the partner’s personal property or the children’s toys. The perpetrator of violence may well select things of particular sentimental value to the partner or child in order to threaten, degrade and hurt them. They may also target things that their partner needs in their everyday life.

Economic violence

Economic violence means that the perpetrator controls the family’s finances and the partner’s money in such a way that the partner must ask for money for every purchase. It may also refer to the opposite relationship, where the partner is forced to pay for all household expenses while the perpetrator uses their money for their own pleasure and investments.

Violence against people with disabilities

People who are dependent on others for everyday nursing and care may also be subjected to neglect, such as the withholding of medication or being given a diet without sufficient nutrients.
This category of violence also includes one partner forcing the other to do things against their will or threatening them, keeping them confined at home or being in their home without permission.

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