Harmful Practices

Persistent practices and behaviours that are grounded on discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, age and other grounds as well as multiple and/or intersecting forms of discrimination that often involve violence and cause physical and/or psychological harm or suffering.

UN Definition of harmful practices.


Abuse Linked to Faith or Belief

Belief in concepts of: witchcraft and spirit possession, demons or the devil acting through children  the evil eye or djinns (traditionally known in some Islamic faith contexts) and dakini (in the Hindu context);

ritual or muti murders where the killing of children is believed to bring supernatural benefits or the use of their body parts is believed to produce potent magical remedie

Honour Based Abuse

Honour based abuse’ (HBA) is 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. National Police Chiefs Council definition

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or any other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM has been categorised into four types, ranging from a symbolic prick to the clitoris to the fairly extensive removal and narrowing of the vaginal opening. World Health Organisation

Forced Marriage

A forced marriage is where one or both spouses do not (or in the case of some adults with severe learning disabilities) cannot consent to the marriage and duress is involved. Duress can include physical violence, psychological pressure (for instance made to feel as if they are bringing shame on their family), sexual violence, plus financial and emotional pressure. This is different to an arranged marriage where choice and consent is applied.


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