Forced marriage

Supporting people who have been, or are at risk of being, forced into marriage.

Red Cross can help people who are in a forced marriage or are at risk of being forced into marriage.

Our program can help you recover and rebuild your life by providing financial support, access to health and accommodation services, counselling, building community supports and more.

This work is funded by the Department of Social Services under the Support for Trafficked People Program.

We can also help you find other organisations and agencies that might be able to help you.

What is forced marriage?

A person is in a forced marriage if they did not freely and fully consent to being married. It is illegal in Australia.

Red Cross might be able to help if you:

  • are being, or were, threatened, coerced, pressured or tricked into getting married;
  • have not freely and fully consented to being married;
  • were under 16 years old at the time you were married; or
  • did not have the mental capacity to consent to your marriage.

Learn more about forced marriage in these videos.

Forced marriage in Australia
Forced marriage vs arranged marriage
Gender and forced marriage

How to get help

We can provide a caseworker and help under the government’s Support for Trafficked People Program.

People impacted by forced marriage can now access up to 200 days of holistic support without having to participate in a criminal justice process. For more information, you can download the government's factsheet on Increased Support for Forced Marriage Victims.

You can ask the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to refer you to Red Cross. Participation in the program is voluntary and you can choose to leave at any time.

If you are not comfortable contacting the AFP, you can contact Red Cross or My Blue Sky for advice.

If you are not eligible for this program we might be able to help by referring you to other Red Cross support or community support organisations.

For more information about whether you qualify for this program please send us a message using the contact details below.

Want to learn more?

In 2018 Australian Red Cross undertook a series of community consultations which sought to:

  • capture views of communities on their experiences of forced marriage
  • identify strategies communities use to prevent and respond to forced marriage
  • empower communities to shape messages to influence forced marriage policies and programs.

As a result, the report Forced Marriage: Community Voices, Stories and Strategies was developed, which highlights the important role that communities and families themselves play in finding solutions to the complex issues they face.

Contact us

For more information about the Support for Trafficked People Program, please call us on 03 9345 1800 or send us an email.

If you suspect a case of forced marriage please seek specialist help.

If you think someone is in imminent danger please call the police on 000.

To report or discuss a concern call the Australian Federal Police on 131 AFP (237).

Red Cross can give advice, support and referrals to other organisations where possible.

Australian Government Support for Trafficked People Program

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