1st Edition

The Psychology of Honor Abuse, Violence and Killings

By Roxanne Khan Copyright 2025
    144 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    144 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This important book provides a much-needed exploration and examination of honor abuse, violence, and killings from psychological perspectives. Written by a leading authority on the subject, the book draws on a wide range of research and theory on victims and perpetrators to bridge the gap between research and practice.

    Separated into two parts, the book begins with a focus on teaching, research, and practice issues in forensic psychology and related criminal justice fields, integral to studying and working with victims and perpetrators of honor abuse, violence, and killing. The second part provides an overview of the main issues relevant to the psychology of honor abuse, violence, and killings. These include definitions, prevalence, crime characteristics, victims, and perpetrators. The final chapter presents a new explanatory three-phase model of honor-based abuse perpetration. First-hand personal accounts and detailed cases studies are interwoven throughout, giving a voice to victims and bringing their real-life stories to the forefront.

    As the first psychologically based book to synthesize existing and new knowledge on honor abuse, the book is a must read for anyone working with victims and/or perpetrators of honor abuse and domestic violence, including criminal justice professionals, mental health practitioners, policymakers, support agencies, emergency workers, and activists. It is also relevant for any students or researchers of gender-based violence and racially minoritized communities.

    Part One: Forensic psychology: teaching, research, and practice  1. 21st century forensic psychology – WEIRD and “raceless”  2. Working with victims and perpetrators  Part Two: Understanding ‘honor’ abuse, violence, and killing  3. Defining ‘honor’ abuse, violence and killing  4. Prevalence rates and crime characteristics  5. Victims  6. Perpetrators  7. Conclusions


    Roxanne Khan is a multi-award-winning academic researcher. For over 18 years, she was based at the University of Central Lancashire where she was a Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology and led a Forensic Psychology course ranked top in the UK in a national student survey. Dr Khan is Founder and Director of HARM — Honour Abuse Research Matrix. HARM is recognized as the first and only global network leading research, policy, and practice on ‘honor’ abuse. As Director of onEvidence, Dr Khan is an independent Chair and Author for Domestic Homicide Reviews and Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews, identifying areas of good practice and lessons to be learnt.

    ‘With this new book, The Psychology of ‘Honor’ Abuse, Violence and Killings, Dr. Roxanne Khan has provided an extraordinary contribution to the fields dedicated to understanding and preventing these crimes. Moreover, the book will appeal not just to students and researchers, but also to those dedicated to providing aid to victims of ‘honor’ abuse and violence, including public policy analysts, health care professionals, social workers, and clinicians.’

    Todd K. Shackelford, Distinguished Professor and Chair of Psychology, Oakland University, USA; and Editor-in-Chief, Springer Nature Encyclopedia of Domestic Violence


    ‘A comprehensive and compelling journey through the dark side of honor, where the victims are sacrificed for misconstrued tradition perpetuated by patriarchy and misogyny. You won’t believe how deep it goes till you read this.’

    Nazir Afzal OBE, former Chief Crown Prosecutor and Chief Executive of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners; Chancellor of the University of Manchester, UK


    ‘Dr Khan meticulously dissects the intricate dynamics underlying the pervasive issue of honour-based abuses, drawing from intersectional perspectives to provide a comprehensive understanding of how and why violence occurs. Her work showcases immense clarity and depth and equips readers with the knowledge and insight needed to confront and dismantle the structures perpetuating abuse. This book is a vital resource for advocates, scholars, and anyone committed to eradicating honour-based abuse and protecting survivors.’

    Charlotte Proudman, PhD, award-winning family law barrister, University of Cambridge Academic, UK


    ‘Dr Khan has achieved several significant breakthroughs in this volume: she has addressed the much-neglected area of honour killings in a thoughtful and comprehensive way, she has challenged the profession of forensic psychology for the shameful lack of work in this area historically and she has developed innovative practice by offering the first theoretical model of honour abuse perpetration. I recommend this work wholeheartedly.’

    Lawrence Jones, Head of Clinical & Forensic Psychology Services, Rampton Hospital, UK, HCPC Registered and BPS Chartered Consultant Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, Honorary Clinical Associate Professor, University of Nottingham, School of Medicine


    ‘This book is a must-read for anyone working within the domestic abuse sector. I wish it had been written years ago.'

    Meena Kumari, independent domestic violence advocate and trainer, H.O.P.E network, UK


    ‘Dr Khan, in this excellent book challenges our profession about how and why we have allowed ‘gaps’ to emerge in our knowledge and practice.  It is essential reading for those seeking to enter practice or research in forensic psychology.  It is especially challenging to those of us already in the profession, as it is us who have ‘allowed’ these ‘gaps’ to exist and to persist. This book is a call to action for our profession. ‘

    Professor Nicola Bowes, Chair of the British Psychological Society, Division of Forensic Psychology, UK  


    ‘As a pressing global issue, ‘honor’-based abuse demands comprehensive understanding and effective strategies for intervention. In this book Dr Khan delves deep into the complexities of ‘honor’-based abuse, she navigates through the cultural, social, and psychological underpinnings of ‘honor’-based abuse, its survivors and perpetrators, shedding light on its multifaceted nature whilst emphasizing the urgent need for cultural sensitivity, providing invaluable insights for academics, practitioners, and policymakers alike.’

    Louise Almond, Professor of Investigative and Forensic Psychology, University of Liverpool, UK


    ‘At last! A necessary and welcome text uncloaking the true nature of 'honor' abuse - a distinct form of family violence and child abuse that has otherwise remained neglected by forensic psychology. Providing a brilliantly readable exploration of the individual, family, and cultural complexities inherent in 'honor' based offending, this vital resource will equip psychology trainees and practitioners, plus other social and criminal justice professionals, with perspective-changing and empowering knowledge.’

    Kerry Daynes, consultant & forensic psychologist, UK, author of The Dark Side of the Mind: True Stories from My Life as a Forensic Psychologist, and What Lies Buried: A Forensic Psychologist's True Stories of Madness, the Bad, and the Misunderstood


    ‘Dr. Khan's illuminating book traverses awkward terrain in a multidisciplinary manner, rupturing current views and racial bias in the interlinked fields of criminology and forensic psychology. In evoking thought-provoking understandings of a delicate but terrible 'honor' that our world grapples with, this book is a beacon to heal, inspire, instruct, and facilitate. ‘

    Edwina Pio ONZM, Professor Emeritus of Diversity, Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand


    ‘From a lawyer specialising in ‘honour’ based violence, Dr Khan's book will now become 'a go to' for professionals working in this area. It achieves the difficult task of highlighting, and at the same time, educating about so-called 'honour' based violence.’

    Imran Khodabocus, solicitor, Head of Department (Domestic Abuse) at the Family Law Company, UK, Member of the Law Society’s Family Law Panel and Children Law Panel


    ‘Delving into the complexities of 'honor'-based violence, this multi-disciplinary masterpiece offers invaluable insights crucial for students, professionals, and practitioners alike. With its insightful analysis and practical insights, it serves as an invaluable resource for understanding and combating this pressing societal issue.’

    Carlijn van Baak, MA, LLM; PhD candidate, Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands


    ‘Very rarely does one come across a scholar and practitioner who addresses the issue of ‘honour’-based abuse in such a measured and comprehensible manner. Dr Khan possesses the unique ability to holistically and meticulously uncover the complexities surrounding ‘honour,’ in a way that encourages readers to reflect and take action. This timely and pioneering contribution from Dr Khan is a must read for policy professionals and practitioners across the board.’

    Maryyum Mehmood, PhD, academic, socio-political analyst, and practitioner in domestic abuse and marginalised communities, UK


    ‘This first book on the forensic psychology of ‘honor’ based abuse is a must-read for professionals and students alike. It provides a much-needed comprehensive and nuanced understanding of this often misunderstood and overlooked topic. Vitally, by challenging prior misplaced Eurocentric framing and instead centring an understanding of minoritised racial and ethnic identities, this book will help improve responses to these cases.’

    Diana Nammi, founder and executive director of IKWRO - Women's Rights Organisation


    ‘Dr Khan encapsulates teaching, research, and practice-based knowledge for anyone seeking to deepen their understanding of the complexities surrounding diversity and inclusion in psychology. Her insightful analysis sheds light on the often-overlooked gaps in mainstream discourse, particularly the absence of diverse perspectives. Through meticulous research and a common-sense approach, this book offers valuable insights into the dynamics of honor-based abuse, providing crucial context for both victims and perpetrators. Concisely written with a thorough understanding and comprehensive approach, this book is a must-read for anyone committed to promoting equality and combating injustice for victims of honor-based abuse, Dr Khan has worked tirelessly to highlight disparity for victims of honor-based abuse throughout her career, this book captures her expertise, passion and drive for change advocating the rights of victims through her research. Brilliant read!’

    Yasmin Khan, national advisor to the Welsh Government, Founder of Halo Project Charity, UK


    ‘The Psychology of Honor Abuse, Violence, and Killing by Dr Roxanne Khan is a much-needed contribution to the growing body of literature. It is the first textbook to draw from forensic psychology and other related academic disciplines, such as criminology and sociology, to provide a nuanced understanding of ‘honor’-based crimes. This work explores the micro/macro level approaches to victimization and proposes a new three-phase model for understanding perpetrator motivation and how society responds to these cases. More importantly, it uses real case studies to shed light on the lived experiences of racialized people impacted by the shortcomings of the various systems/professionals (e.g., police) that failed to help. It also provides a comprehensive understanding of the victim-survivor and perpetrator perspectives and calls for cultural awareness and sensitivity to equip professionals with practical intervention strategies. It is a valuable resource for academics, students, practitioners, community members, policymakers, and those working in the criminal legal system with victims and perpetrators of ‘honor’-based crimes.’

    Wendy Aujla, Criminology Program Advisor and Field Placement Coordinator, Department of Sociology, University of Alberta, Canada


    ‘A ground-breaking investigation with real life impact. Dr. Khan provides a crucial missing piece in the way we understand ‘honor’ abuse, violence and killing.’

    Shaheen Hashmat, PhD,‘Honor’ Abuse and Forced Marriage Survivor and Former Campaigner, UK, author of It Ends with Us


    ‘A long-awaited book that every police investigator, prosecutor, specialist criminal & family lawyer, social service and medical professional should reference as a practitioners' bible when dealing with these tragic cases. Never before has there been such an in-depth analysis of the psychology from both a victim and suspect centric approach. In order to present such cases to a judge or jury this contextual background and narrative must be articulated and understood. Dr Khan's fascinating book will provide a helpful insight and support to all professionals dealing with so-called honour abuse cases. A must read as it certainly challenged my own thinking.’

    Miss Jaswant K. Narwal, Chief Crown Prosecutor London North, UK, National Crown Prosecution Service Lead on So-Called Honour Based Abuse, Forced Marriage and FGM


    ‘A thorough and timely analysis of honor-based violence and its complexities. Dr Khan expertly unpacks this confronting topic with the gravity and sensitivity it commands.’

    Stephane Shepherd, PhD, Professor of Forensic Psychology and Criminology, Deakin University. Melbourne, Australia