Harmful practices

Harmful traditional practices (HTP) include:

  • female genital cutting/mutilation
  • so called ‘honour’ based violence and ‘honour’ killings
  • early, child and forced marriage
  • abuse linked to a belief in spirit possession
  • breast ironing also known as breast flattening

Harmful traditional practices are based on tradition, culture, custom and practice, religion and/or superstition. They have often been embedded in communities for a long time and are born out of community pressure. They are committed and actively condoned by the child’s parents or significant adults within the child’s/young person’s community. 

They include rituals, traditions or other practices that have a detrimental effect on the physical, mental and emotional health of the victim. Many of the practices involve bias against groups of children, particularly girls and children with disabilities. Many involve physical abuse and pain leading, in some cases intentionally, to death or serious injury. Others involve mental abuse.

Force-feeding is also a harmful traditional practice that is based on families wanting to ensure that their child, both girls and boys, are getting enough to eat. It also has detrimental medical, physical and psychological effects on the child.

ISCB in conjunction with the Safer Islington Partnership (SIP) and local voluntary groups are working towards preventing and addressing harmful traditional practices in Islington by:

  • raising awareness of the dangers of the practices, and encouraging the reporting of concerns about harmful traditional practices
  • promoting community participation in tackling harmful traditional practices

If you think that a child/young person is in immediate danger you must ring the police on 999.

If you think that a child/young person is at risk of HTP you must make an immediate referral to Islington’s Children's Services Contact Team, 020 7527 7400, csctreferrals@islington.gov.uk

Contact Islington’s Children's Services Contact Team , 020 7527 7400, csctreferrals@islington.gov.uk for information and advice concerning children/young people at risk of HTP.