“That’s how we were raised”

Perpetrator perspectives in relation to legislative changes targeting honour related violence in Sweden


  • Pernilla Ouis Malmö University
  • Annika Staaf Malmö University
  • Hanna Cinthio Malmö University




honour, perpetrators, offenders, honour crimes, honour as aggravating circumstance, honour violence


Since July 1st, 2020, honour is viewed as an aggravating circumstance in criminal cases in Sweden, and it is suggested that honour related violence and oppression should become a criminal offence in its own right. Interventions directed towards victims of honour crimes have been implemented, but fewer have targeted the offenders. The purpose of this article is to mirror the Swedish legal and discursive framework against the perspective of the perpetrators. While we discuss findings with relevance for practitioners, particularly in the light of recent legislative changes, our main focus is set on subjective understandings of honour crimes. In particular, questions about the perpetrators’ norms and worldviews, their perceptions of the concept of honour, and their experiences of the Swedish justice system are investigated. Using court verdicts and deep interviews, we highlight important themes under the following four headlines: (1) Collectivism, norms, and traditions, (2) Complexities of honour crimes, (3) Marginalization, social vulnerability, and stereotyping, and (4) Reflections in retrospect.

This article gives insight into some of the complexities that courts will have to handle given the recent and pending changes in Swedish legislation and provides knowledge that can be implemented in social and legal work to combat honour related violence and oppression.