Males can be victims of forced marriage, however, the most reported victims are females and usually young women and girls making it a form of gender-based violence. Forced marriage is not limited to any particular cultural group, religion or ethnicity, and there are reports of forced marriage from all over the world and it is an abuse of human rights.
The Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 contains offences regarding forced marriage. It is illegal to cause a person to enter a forced marriage, and to be a party to a forced marriage. Being a party to a forced marriage means agreeing to marry a person who you know or suspect is a victim of forced marriage, unless you are a victim of the forced marriage yourself. If convicted for an offence relating to forced marriage, the offender may be sentenced to gaol.
It is important to note that arranged marriage is not a forced marriage
Currently, forced marriages contain penalty of imprisonment.
If there is an immediate danger, call Triple Zero (000). Otherwise, you can call the AFP on 131 237. The Attorney-General also has information on their website (detailed above).
If you are concerned about a potential force marriage and wish to obtain legal advice, contact one of our lawyers at Claire Naidu & Co. We can advise you and if appropriate, assist you to apply to the Family Law Courts for orders such as:
- preventing a passport being issued for a child
- require a person to surrender a child or accompanying adult’s passport to the court
- prevent the removal of a child from Australia and place the child’s name on the Airport Watch List.