When saying no is not an option: Forced marriage in Australia and New Zealand


Australia is one of a small number of countries to criminalise forced marriage, introduced into the Criminal Code 1995 in 2013 as a slavery-like practice. However, unlike other nations where forced marriage is a criminal offence, there has been little formal examination of the nature and context of forced marriage in Australia and the consequences (positive and negative) of criminalising this practice. This report uses interviews with victim/survivors of forced marriage, community members and government and non-government stakeholders in Australia and New Zealand (where forced marriage is not criminalised) to describe the perceptions and realities of forced marriage, including the circumstances of the marriage, experiences of victim/survivors while married and their help-seeking behaviours, and post-marriage support and consequences. It also examines the course of intervention adopted in Australia to respond to forced marriage and the cultural challenges to these interventions.


  • Acknowledgements
  • Acronyms
  • Definitions
  • Executive summary
  • Introduction
  • Methodology and data collection
  • Definitions and legislative frameworks
  • The nature and context of forced marriage in Australia and New Zealand
  • The intervention framework
  • Conclusion
  • References