forced marriage it is no longer a foreign concept
we have long been aware of forced marriages in different cultures and far of countries. however, forced marriages are becoming increasingly common in australia. in 2015, the australian federal police revealed that it was investigating many cases of forced marriage, some of which involved teenagers and even younger children.
The Marriage Act of 1961 states that couples entering marriage must freely and fully consent, and be 18 years or older. Exceptions can be made, with parental consent, in special cases where one of the parties is between the ages of 16 and 18.
In 2013, new laws which specifically outlawed forced marriage were introduced in Australia. These laws were designed for the protection of both children and adults and state that it is an offence to deceive, threaten or coerce a person into marriage.
If someone is found guilty of forcing another person to get married, he or she may face a maximum penalty of four years in prison. Imprisonment can be extended to seven years if the victim is a minor. If someone takes the victim overseas to be married, the penalty can be increased to 25 years imprisonment.
The public is urged to report suspected forced marriages to the Australian Federal Police.
The family court can issue an order to prevent a forced marriage, or to end it after the fact. The court may also direct the Australian Federal Police to have the child's name placed on the Airport Watch List, which is aimed at stopping the child from being flown out of the country to be married.
Forced Marriage vs. Arranged Marriage
While forced marriage is outlawed in Australia, arranged marriage is legal. It is fully within the law to arrange for a couple to be introduced with the purpose of marriage. If the couple enters into the marriage agreement free and fully consenting, the marriage will be deemed legal.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.