Prevent Forced Marriage
Professor Jennifer Burn, Director of Anti-Slavery Australia, is convinced prevention is the best way to address forced marriage in Australia. In an opinion piece for ABC Ethics and Religion Jennifer explained that forced marriage occurs when a person enters into a marriage without freely and fully consenting because of the use of coercion, threat or deception. Forced marriage was criminalised in Australia in 2013 and is considered to be a slavery-like practice and a form of family violence. While convictions send a message that this practice is not tolerated in Australia, it is essential that their be a focus on efforts to prevent forced marriage. Awareness raising and support for people at risk of a forced marriage will help to reduce the prevalence of this crime.
ACRATH has worked in collaboration with Anti-Slavery Australia to raise awareness, educate and support those at risk of a forced marriage and to provide companionship for victim/survivors.
Anti-Slavery Australia has recently updated Australia’s online forced marriage portal, My Blue Sky. For those working across a variety of community-facing professions, they have designed the Frontline Worker Guide: Identifying and responding to forced marriage in Australia to support workers to learn more about forced marriage and how to best respond, and have launched an open online course, “Modern Slavery in the Home”, to help frontline workers understand the kinds of modern slavery that can occur in domestic settings, and how to help those affected.
ACRATH also has a number of resources to assist in preventing forced marriage including a webinar and a resource for secondary school teachers. The resources can be found on the ACRATH website.