Shaping Priority Services for UK Victims of Honour-based Violence/Abuse, Forced Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation

Aisha K. Gill , Pam Cox, Ruth Weir

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Victims of honour-based violence/abuse (HBV/A), forced marriage (FM), and female genital mutilation (FGM) are now defined as ‘priority groups’ in the UK’s Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (commonly known as the Victims’ Code of Practice or VCOP). These groups encompass: those who are affected by the most serious forms of crime; those persistently targeted by crime; those vulnerable by age or physical or mental health; and, those classified as intimidated victims. The Code recommends that these victims receive a ‘priority service’ that includes rapid needs assessment and enhanced support. This article draws upon research commissioned by a county police force in southern England which wanted to develop its provision for ‘priority service’ victims. It analyses data gathered from interviews with victims and multi-agency practitioners and explores four dimensions of victim and practitioner experience: recording and locating victims; initiating a case; modes of protecting victims; and, closing a case. It also discusses future directions and challenges for priority victim work in England and elsewhere, and identifies the many challenges experienced by practitioners working to support the victims of HBV/A, FM, and FGM. This article argues that the voices of both victims and practitioners must be considered in the co-creation of future priority services in this field.

© 2018, Wiley. The attached document (embargoed until 05/12/2020) is an author produced version of a paper published in THE HOWARD JOURNAL OF CRIME AND JUSTICE uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link below. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHoward Journal of Criminal Justice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2018


  • honour based violence
  • forced mariage
  • female genital mutilation
  • policing
  • priority groups
  • Victims’ Code of Practice

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