How to respond to forced marriage

  • If you do not respond to sexual, domestic or family violence often, our Introduction to responding page is a good place to start
  • It is also important to know your responsibilities under your state or territory's mandatory reporting laws
  • On this page you will find contacts and resources to support you in responding to cases of forced marriage.

How to respond to forced marriage

Someone in or at risk of a forced marriage may find it hard to talk about their situation. Cross cultural competence, using the window of opportunity for engagement and risk assessment and safety planning are all important skills to for responding well.

If you have a reasonable suspicion that a child or young person is at risk of any type of violence or harm, it is important to seek help. Under state and territory laws you have certain obligations to report child abuse and neglect. If you do not have a legal obligation to report, you can still contact the Australian Federal Police on 131 AFP (131 237) if you suspect someone is in, or at risk of, forced marriage.

Support when responding

Australian nationals may be forced to marry both in Australia and overseas. Several resources have been developed to improve responses to forced marriage. There is a community education pack from the Attorney General’s Office, a website and phone line, and new powers for the Australian Federal Police.

The Australian Federal Police

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has a specialist team that responds to suspected cases of forced marriage. They are able to help people in, or at risk of, a forced marriage even when that person does not want to assist with an investigation or prosecution. If the person is a minor (younger than 18 years old), the AFP is compelled to act in their best interests and will work alongside the relevant State or Territory child protection authority. You can contact the Australian Federal Police anonymously by calling 131 AFP (131 237), or by filling out an online form on the AFP website. The AFP can also refer suspected victims of forced marriage to the Government-funded Support for Trafficked People Program

The Australian Federal Police 

The Forced Marriage Community Pack

The Attorney-General Department produced Forced Marriage Community Pack includes a range of materials about forced marriage for use by people in, or at risk of, forced marriage, the general community, the media and organisations and service providers. Visit the Attorney-General’s website and scroll down to the resources under the heading 'Forced marriage community pack'. Select materials are available in Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Somali, Tamil and Urdu.

The Forced Marriage Community Pack 

Anti-Slavery Australia

Anti-Slavery Australia provides a comprehensive legal service Australia-wide. Anti-Slavery Australia can provide information about rights and options, legal representation and referral to support services. Call 02 95149662 or email antislavery@uts.edu.au

Anti-Slavery Australia