You can find out how to get help on this page and get answers to your questions about marriage.
If there’s an emergency or you are hurt dial Triple Zero (000) now for free from any phone (even if it has a password).
If you, or someone you know is in, or at immediate risk of, a forced marriage or being taken overseas to be married, call the Australian Federal Police on 131 AFP (131 237) for confidential help.
Make sure you’re on a safe computer or phone. If you’re worried you could get into trouble for looking at this website you can click on the “exit website” button on the side of this page. This will take you straight to a blank Google search page but will not clear your browser history. Click here for more information on cybersafety. Before you leave the page, copy down this number 0481 070 844 so you can send us a text to get help.
About marriage in Australia
It’s against the law to force anyone to get married. It doesn’t matter what your age is; what country or family background you come from; whether you are male or female; or what your culture or religion is – nobody is allowed to force you to get married against your will.
Marriage in Australia is for men and women over the age of 18 who fully agree to the marriage.
If you’re under 18
If you’re under 18 you cannot get married except in very special circumstances when a judge at a court agrees. If you’re under the age of 16 you cannot get married at all.
Click here to find out more about this
Sometimes a court can approve a marriage when a person is 16 or 17 and wants to get married and their parents agree. The court can’t approve the marriage if both people are under 18.
If you’re over 18
Even if you’re over 18, you still need to give your full and free consent to be married. This means that you are choosing to marry the other person of your own free will without any fear of consequences if you don’t marry the person.
In Australia, a true marriage is where both people want to get married to each other at the time of the marriage ceremony. They are making the decision to marry without any threat or pressure from another person. If the person they are marrying or any other person is threatening them, tricking them or putting pressure on them to marry, then it is not a true marriage and may be a forced marriage.
I have already been married without my consent
If you are in a marriage you did not agree to, you can still get help.
To help you stay safe or if you are thinking of leaving where you are living, click below.
In some families, marriages are arranged. The couple are introduced to each other by a family member or another person. Each person can freely choose whether or not they want to go ahead with the marriage and their families listen to their choice without any consequences. Arranged marriages are legal in Australia because the couple only get married if they both freely choose to marry each other.
Even if they first agreed to it, an arranged marriage can change to become a forced marriage if one or both of the people are threatened, tricked or pressured into saying yes to the marriage. The person may feel helpless to say no to the wedding. At that time, they are no longer giving full and free consent and the marriage becomes a forced marriage.
An example of an arranged marriage
A person is introduced to a potential marriage partner by a family member, friend or other third party. The person can choose to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the marriage. If they decide to say ‘no’ to the marriage, it will simply not go ahead. If they decide to say ‘yes’ to the marriage with their full and free consent, the marriage will go ahead. Their full and free consent means that there were no threats, tricks or pressure on them to say yes to the marriage.
What could happen next if I talk to someone for help?
You can talk to someone to learn how they could help you and then make your own decisions.
Australian Federal Police
Someone you trust
This may include your friend, your teacher or school counsellor. They could talk to you about services available to you.
Once you are 15, you can get your own Medicare card.
Fill out a Medicare Application form by clicking here and taking it to your closest service office here You need to take identification with you, such as your student card or birth certificate as well as the number of the card you are currently on, which is probably your parent’s card.
Watch this video.
Animation used with permission of UK based charity NSPCC.