Forced Marriage in Australia

Meaning of Forced Marriage

A forced marriage is when a person gets married without freely and fully consenting, because they have been coerced, threatened or deceived.In Australia, it is illegal to cause a person to enter a forced marriage, and to be a party to a forced marriage.

Some types of coercion are obvious and easy to identify, including the use of physical or sexual violence, or refusing to let somebody leave a particular place or location until they accept the marriage. Other types of coercion are less obvious because they involve psychological and emotional pressure. These types of coercion can include making a person feel responsible for, or ashamed of the consequences of not marrying, such as bringing shame on their family. Forced marriage is a slavery-like practice, a form of gender-based violence and an abuse of human rights. 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. While men and boys can be victims of forced marriage, most reported victims are young women and girls.  

The Forced Marriage: Good Practice Guide provides an introduction to the issue of forced marriage and essential information to assist front-line workers to respond effectively to a young person at risk.


 Download the Forced Marriage: Good Practice Guide

Publication Era: 2007-Present, Centre for Multicultural Youth.
Resource Type: Good Practice Guide

Forced Marriage Good Practice Guide cover image


Further Resources

For further information on how to support young people affected by forced marriage, please see resources below:

Australian Government Forced Marriage resources 

I don't: Forced Marriage Forum report

Australian Red Cross


1800 Respect

1800 Respect is a national 24/7 hotline for information and support for those experience sexual assault or family violence. Ph: 1800 737 732


1800 Respect Forced Marriage Webinar

Forced marriage: understanding context and connecting to services Presenter: Jennifer Burns, Director, Anti-Slavery Australia. Associate Professor, UTS Faculty of Law


My Blue Sky

This website is a comprehensive portal on forced marriage. It includes a dedicated national legal service hotline for free and confidential legal advice for victims, who can either phone, email or text.


Anti-Slavery Australia

Resources available from include:

  • a kit of multilingual resources about forced marriage including a reception poster, A5 information flyers and a folding booklet about forced marriage. These materials have been translated into 7 community languages: Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Dari, Farsi, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu
  • an eLearning platform which contains a specific module on forced marriage
  • guidelines for NGOs working with trafficked people


Attorney General’s Department

The Australian Government Attorney General’s Department has a range of information and FAQ sheets and a community pack in a number of community languages.


Karma Nirvana

There are a number of resources including community posters, a newsletter and petitions available from their website:




Victorian Forced Marriage Network



Centre for Multicultural Youth



Anti-Slavery Australia



Karma Nirvana, UK

Helpline Number: 0800 5 999 247