Forced marriage

Everyone in Australia is free to choose whether they marry. Forcing anybody to get married is a crime in Australia. A forced marriage is when a person gets married without fully and freely consenting, because they have been threatened, coerced or deceived.

Nobody is allowed to physically, emotionally, or psychologically pressure anyone to get married. It doesn’t matter what the person’s religious or ethnic background is, their gender or sexual orientation or how old they are.

It is also illegal to take or send a person to another country for the purposes of forcing them to marry, or to have someone else organise this.

Children under 16 years are not allowed to marry. People between 16 and 18 years of age can only marry with parental consent and with an Australian court order from a judge or magistrate authorising the marriage.

Arranged marriages are legal in Australia. Both parties must consent.

To learn more about forced marriage and how you can protect yourself and others when seeking help, go to www.ag.gov.au/forcedmarriage

The Family Safety Pack (www.dss.gov.au/family-safety-pack) includes a factsheet on forced and early marriage.

If you think that somebody is in, or is at risk of, a forced marriage, contact the Australian Federal Police on 131 237.

The following organisations may also be able to help:

For more information please go to