Australian Red Cross is pleased to be able to provide more support to victims of forced marriage following an announcement by the Federal Government.
Previously, victims have had to agree to cooperate with criminal investigations or prosecutions before accessing longer-term support.
Now the Federal Government will trial removing that requirement for up to 200 days. Red Cross will implement the trial.
“We hope this trial will allow us to help more people who are in or at risk of a forced marriage,” says Helen Seignior, National Program Coordinator of the Support for Trafficked People Program at Red Cross.
“Having to talk to the authorities and potentially risk their own family being prosecuted can be really daunting and scary, especially for young people,” she says.
“Many young people in or at risk of forced marriage tell us they don’t want their families to get in trouble. They tell us that they just want to be listened to and for their families to understand why they don’t want to get married,” says Ms Seignior.
“By being able to offer up to 200 days of help under the Support for Trafficked People Program (STPP) without having to engage with the criminal justice system, people will have the support and time they need to make decisions about their future.”
“This trial will also allow us to gather more data and evidence about forced marriage in Australia and learn more about how we can help to meet people‘s needs,” she says.
Red Cross supports people who have been trafficked or been forced into marriage by helping them to recover and rebuild their lives. This work is funded by the Department of Social Services under the Support for Trafficked People Program. For more information please visit www.redcross.org.au/STPP