Honor-Based Violence: Policing and Prevention

Honor-Based Violence: Policing and Prevention

Authors: Karl Anton Roberts, Gerry Campbell, and Glen Lloyd  
Publisher: Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2014. 194p.
Reviewer: Rosalyn Bocker Parks | September 2014

Roberts, Campbell, and Lloyd’s Honor-Based Violence: Policing and Prevention offers an in-depth discussion of crimes that have been committed for thousands of years, but that have only recently garnered attention from the law enforcement and criminal justice communities. Committed to protect or defend a family’s or community’s honor, certain crimes are often committed in a response to the victim’s behavior. The overwhelmingly female victims are punished for a variety of perceived offences, including being too “Westernized,” for displaying sexuality or attractiveness, for public displays of affection, for divorce, or for being a victim of a “shameful” crime such as rape.

The subsequent honor-based violence takes many forms. Roberts, Campbell, and Lloyd examine sex-selective abortions, female genital mutilation, bride prices, forced marriages, and rape and honor killings among others. The authors explore a series of explanatory theories of honor-based violence, ranging from the cultural and the psychological, to a discussion of honor-based violence as an extension of male violence towards women.

This work provides an interdisciplinary review of understanding, responding to and preventing honor-based violence. Stressing the importance of education, Roberts, Campbell, and Lloyd discuss the important roles of health professionals, adult and child protective services, educators and the police. As signs of honor-based violence are often overlooked or remain unidentified, the authors stress the importance of educating and informing these professionals and other groups about honor-based violence, its motivations, manifestations and warning signs. There are as well two chapters devoted to risk management and communications strategies.

Four chapters of the book are dedicated to primary and secondary investigations of honor-based violence. These highly detailed strategies range from responding to reports of honor-based violence, to crime scene preservation, and from forensic considerations to witness interviewing techniques. Yet while these four chapters dedicated to investigating honor-based violence are very comprehensive, there are some major obstacles to these ideas being implemented: the victims of and witnesses to of honor-based violence are unlikely to turn to the police for aid, and the police are unlikely to discover incidents of honor-based violence on their own. Even when these cases are brought to their attention, the police are often met with a variety of potential offenses and often possess a limited understanding of offenders’ motivations. Victims often only report honor-based violence as a last resort, and the offenders, families and communities of all involved are likely to be very resistant to police investigation or interference.

While this is an important caveat, it is nevertheless an unavoidable difficulty that the authors have acknowledged and discussed in a clear, concise manner. It is this accessibility and readability that makes this work notable. The result of a collaboration among Roberts, an academic forensic psychologist, and Campbell and Lloyd, both serving officers in London’s Metropolitan Police Services, Honor-Based Violence offers unique viewpoints. This coming together of both theory and practice allows the theoretical underpinnings and real-world investigative procedures of honor-based violence to coexist seamlessly.

Roberts, Campbell, and Lloyd’s Honor-Based Violence highlights an important but often overlooked area of both academic research and police policy and practice. While designed for law enforcement practitioners, a much broader audience can also benefit from reading this collection. This text would also be useful and informative to health professionals, social service providers, educators, students of criminal justice, and researchers in this field. The insights herein offer a well-organized and systematic review of a series of marginalized crimes where perpetrators, witnesses, and victims alike are often reticent.

Rosalyn Bocker Parks is a PhD Candidate at Rutgers University, School of Criminal Justice – Newark, NJ.

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