Report a forced marriage

As a teacher or health care professional, you may be the first trusted person to come into contact with someone who is facing forced marriage. It is important that you know what signs to look out for, and how to support and refer cases of forced marriage.

If you are a mandatory reporter in your State or Territory, you may be required to report a forced marriage or risk of forced marriage to your State or Territory child protection agency.

International best practice suggests that attempts to mediate between people facing forced marriage and their families should be avoided.

Australian Federal Police

The AFP can help people who are at risk of a forced marriage or who are in a forced marriage, including where a person may be taken overseas to marry. The AFP may also refer people for support, including safe accommodation, financial support, legal advice and counselling. Initial support is available for people even if they are unsure if they want to assist with an investigation or prosecution. Contact with the AFP can be anonymous if you wish. You can call 131 AFP (131 237) or complete an online form on the AFP website.

Signs that someone is in or at risk of forced marriage

If a person you know is in, or at risk of a forced marriage, they may find it hard to talk about their situation. If you notice some of the following signs, then it could mean they are in a forced marriage, or at risk of being forced to marry.

It can be difficult to identify the signs of forced marriage and you should seek help and advice as soon as possible. It is important that you always act in the best interests of the person in, or at risk of, a forced marriage, including by being mindful of their safety as well as your own safety.

SUDDEN ANNOUNCEMENT.

A sudden announcement that they are engaged and they don’t seem happy about it

DEPARTURE.

They suddenly leave school, university or work

ABSENCE.

They spend a long time away from school, university or work with no reason

ESCAPE.

They have run away from home

ABUSE.

There is evidence of family violence or abuse

TRADITION.

Their older brothers or sisters stopped going to school or were married early

CONTROLLED.

They are never allowed out or always have to have somebody else from the family with them

DEPRESSION.

They show signs of depression, self-harming, drug or alcohol abuse

SCARED.

They seem scared or nervous about an upcoming family holiday overseas

Support Services

Counselling

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The National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service provides free confidential telephone and online counselling.

Lawyers

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For free and confidential legal advice, Anti-Slavery Australia provides legal representation and assistance to people who are in, or at risk of, a forced marriage. You can also contact them if you are worried about someone. They are open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.

Australian Federal Police

Read More

The AFP can help people who are at risk of a forced marriage or who are in a forced marriage, including where a person may be taken overseas to marry. The AFP may also refer people for support, including safe accommodation, financial support, legal advice and counselling. Initial support is available for people even if they are unsure if they want to assist with an investigation or prosecution. Contact with the AFP can be anonymous if you wish. 

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