175 ‘honour-based’ rapes recorded in England and Wales in a year

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Honour-based crimes are up almost 20%. (Getty)

More than 170 ‘honour-based’ rapes were recorded in England and Wale in the year to March 2021, with campaigners warning the true number could be vastly higher.

A concerning new report from the Home Office found that 2,725 'honour-based' offences had been reported in total, an increase of 18% year on year.

The Karma Nirvana charity, which supports victims of honour-based abuse like forced marriage, warned that the figures are "nowhere near" an accurate representation of the scale of the issue.

The Crown Prosecution Service defines an 'honour-based' offence as: "An incident or crime involving violence, threats of violence, intimidation, coercion or abuse (including psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse) which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of an individual, family and/or community for alleged or perceived breaches of the family and/or community’s code of behaviour."

The three police force areas reporting the highest total number of honour based-crimes were the Metropolitan Police in London, West Midlands Police and Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

Watch: What is FGM?

Read more: Female genital mutilation: One-month-old baby girl in Yorkshire a victim of FGM

Due to an IT error, GMP's exact figures were not included in the overall totals in the report.

Natasha Rattu, a barrister and spokeswoman for Karma Nirvana, warned that the report only provides "limited" insight into the issue of honour-based crime.

The Home Office claims publishing such reports will shine a light on the issue and encourage more people to come forward.

Rattu said: "The reality is that reports such as this that are very limited in analysis, very limited in detail, and do very, very little to spark confidence in victims to come forward and report, and do very little to shine the spotlight."

She said there was plenty of available data available that can inform the police and society on dealing with honour-based crime, and the Home Office should factor that into their reports.

She added: "Today's publication is a reminder that there is so much more that needs to be done in this space."

The collection of crimes referred to as honour-based offences included female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriages.

Of the 2,725 reported cases honour-based crimes, 78 were FGM and 125 were forced marriages.

The largest group of crimes reported was 'assault with injury', which made up 16% of the total.

6% of the crimes involved kidnapping, with a further 6% involving rape.

Cruelty to young people or children made of 2% of the 2,725 reported crimes.

Stamping out the practice of FGM was a key aim of Theresa May when she was Home Secretary and Prime Minister.

She introduced several new policies aimed at improving the reporting of FGM by police and better identification the crime.

In 2019 the first person in the UK was convicted of carrying out FGM.

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