Dowry-related abuse

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Vawg logoWhat is dowry-related abuse?

The UN DAW expert group defines dowry-related violence or harassment as: “Any act of violence or harassment associated with the giving or receiving of dowry at any time before, during or after the marriage.”

Is dowry-related abuse domestic abuse?

Yes, Dowry-related abuse is often associated with the wider family but takes the form of domestic abuse and can include all form of violence including: domestic violence, sexual violence, acid throwing, burning and other forms of violence. In extreme cases it involves murders which are often masked by the perpetrators as suicides or accidents – often through burning.

Dowry abuse has been particularly noted when a husband or his family believe the dowry to be inadequate or where the dowry has not been paid. Excessive dowry demands can include the requirement for the bride’s family to provide large amounts of cash, jewellery, property or other expensive goods.


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Where does dowry-related abuse happen?

While dowry is practiced in many different parts of the world, dowry-related violence is most prevalent in South Asia, in the nations of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

“Although paying dowry may be a culturally specific practice, many of the circumstances that conspire to promote dowry-related violence against women are similar to those affecting women around the world: a lack of basic human rights, including education and property; an absence of support services for victims; and impunity for perpetrators.” (J Ward (2005): Broken Bodies – Broken Dreams: Violence Against Women Exposed).

Support services

If you are in immediate risk call 999 or 112 (from a mobile) for the Police

Southall Black Sisters
Tel: 020 8571 0800
Website: Southall Black Sisters

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Forced Marriage Unit
Tel: 020 7008 0151
Tel from overseas: +44 (0)20 7008 0151
(Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
Out of hours: 020 7008 1500 (ask for the Global Response Centre)
Website: Forced Marriage Unit.

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Ashiana Network

Forced Marriage, Honour Based Violence, Domestic violence and Female Genital Mutilation, no recourse to public funds

Tel: 020 7008 0151
Jazz Bhopal

Website: Ashiana Network.

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Iranian, Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation

Forced Marriage, Honour Based Violence, Domestic Violence and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Tel: 0207 920 6460

For out-of-hours emergencies call:
Kurdish / Arabic: 07846 275246
Farsi / Dari / Turkish: 07846 310157

Website: Iranian, Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation


Domestic and Sexual Violence – Gypsy and Traveller refuges
Tel: 0808 802 5565
Website: Solace.

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