Who and when you marry should always be your decision, no one can make you marry someone you don’t want to. Living in Australia you have the right to choose who you marry, and the right to leave a marriage if you want to.
Forced marriage is when someone makes you marry someone against your will and it is illegal in Australia. There are different ways someone can pressure you in to marrying someone you don’t want to, they include:
Forced marriage happens across society in Australia, not just in one ethnic group or religion. You have the right to decide who you marry, and to live free from pressure or abuse to marry someone you don’t want to.
Forced marriage laws apply to:
You can read more about forced marriage on the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs Website or this factsheet.
Here are some warning signs that might help you work out if one of your friends is being forced into marriage:
If you notice any of these things happening to one of your friends ask them what’s going on and if they’re ok. You should tell an adult you trust what is going on, like a parent, teacher or school counsellor so that they can help and support both of you. If you’re not sure what to do you can call Kids Helpline for confidential counselling and support.
If you or someone else is in immediate danger call emergency services on 000. If you are being forced into a marriage by someone tell an adult you trust like a teacher or school counsellor what is going on. You can call the Australian Federal Police on 131 237, you don’t have to open a case with them but they can help by: