Nearly 3,000 so-called "honor attacks" were reported in the United Kingdom in 2010, up 47 percent from the year before, new statistics show.
The Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organization said 2,823 attacks were reported last year, according to data the group collected from 39 out of 52 U.K. police agencies.
According to the Guardian, honor attacks are defined as crimes planned and carried out by a family or community in order to defend their perceived "honor," usually against a Muslim woman, and can include threats, abduction, acid attacks, beatings, forced marriage, mutilation and murder. Any number of "offenses" can be considered dishonorable, including having a boyfriend, being the victim of rape, refusing an arranged marriage, being gay or even wearing make up or inappropriate dress, Diana Nammi of the IKWRO told the Telegraph.
The highest increase in violence took place in London, according to the organization, where incidents rose from 235 to 495.
Still, the IKWRO said the 2,823 reported attacks likely don't represent the full number of attacks that took place: Victims can remain silent out of fear of retaliation, the group said, and also estimated another 500 attacks or so took place where the police forces involved were those that did not provide data.
Fionnuala Ni Mhurchu of the IKWRO told the Guardian she attributed the sharp increase partly to better police awareness and more victims coming forward in the wake of high-profile prosecutions of honor attacks, but also said the violence itself is increasing as more young people refuse to bow to their families' demands.
"They're resisting abuses of their human rights such as forced marriage more and more," she told the Guardian. "And as a result they're being subjected to this kind of violence. We hear from the community that this violence is on the increase."
"These figures are important because they demonstrate this is not a minor problem – it is a serious issue affecting thousands of people a year, many of whom will suffer high levels of abuse before they seek help," she continued. "We want the government to develop a national strategy on honour-based violence that covers not just policing but also issues such as education and community cohesion."
This was the first large-scale collection of honor-based violence data in the U.K.; previously, officials had cited a "12 honor killings per year" statistics, though its origins were unclear, according to the Guardian.
According to the Telegraph, London woman Banaz Mahmod was the victim of an honor killing in 2006: The 20-year-old Iraqi Kurd was strangled on the orders of her father and uncle because they thought her boyfriend was not suitable for her.
Her two male cousins, both 28, were sentenced to jail last year for a minimum of 22 and 21 years for her killing. Her father and uncle were both jailed for life in 2007.
Her case changed the way London police investigate honor killings.