I might be in a forced marriage

No matter what you are going through, you can get help.

Maybe you felt like you didn’t have a choice and couldn't say ‘no’ ?

Maybe you’re only realising now that you don't want your marriage that it's not what you thought it was?

Even if you are already married, it is never too late to reach out and get support.

In Australia, it is against the law for someone to force you to get married.

For a marriage to be legally recognised in Australia, you must have freely and fully consented to getting married.

This means you should not have been pressured by other people into going through with the marriage. You should not have been afraid of bad things happening if you had said ‘no’.

How do you know if you are in a forced marriage?

Often, it depends on if you felt like you truly had a choice about getting married. Sometimes, a forced marriage can happen when someone is tricked into getting married. For example, someone might go through a marriage ceremony without knowing what was actually happening.

If you are unsure, you can talk to us. We can help you understand your situation.

Your marriage may have been forced if any of these happened:

Click on the purple question marks to learn more.

You were

coerced
?

,

threatened
?

or

deceived
?

into getting married.

You did not

understand
?

what was happening during your marriage ceremony.

You were

under 16 years old
?

when you got married.

Because of your age, it doesn't matter if you actually agreed to the marriage or not.

What are your rights?

In Australia, you have the right to not be forced into a marriage. You also have the right to not be taken overseas against your will or tricked into going overseas – including for a forced marriage.

In any relationship (including a forced marriage), you have the right to:

  • Live in a safe home environment, free from violence and abuse

  • Say no to unwanted sexual activities

  • Have control over whether you have children or not

  • Not be forced to do extreme amounts of work, like cooking and cleaning

  • Leave if you are unhappy or being treated badly.

You also have the right to do things like:

  • Talk to your friends and family whenever you want

  • Go outside by yourself when you want

  • See a doctor in private

  • Get legal advice and other professional help for yourself.

In reality, things might be very different for you. You might be in a difficult place where you are not free to do things by yourself. Other people might have told you that you can't say ‘no’ to your partner. You might feel that leaving your marriage is shameful within your family or community.

But you always have these rights, no matter:

  • What visa you are on

  • Your partner’s Australian citizenship or permanent residency

  • Your partner’s wealth, status or influence in the community

  • Your gender and sexual orientation

  • Your ethnic, cultural and religious background

What can you do?

You may feel alone, scared and unsure about what to do. Please know that help is available. It is not too late to change things for the better.

My Blue Sky can help you understand your situation and your options. You can get help, whether you want to:

  • Leave or stay with your partner

  • Stay in Australia, travel overseas or go back home

Contact us for free legal advice and support, including:

  • Visa and migration support

  • Safety and protection from violence

  • Divorce applications

  • Victims compensation

  • Referrals to other support services

Are you currently overseas?

If you have been taken out of Australia for a forced marriage, there are people overseas who can help. Australia's laws on forced marriage also cover Australians who force someone to marry overseas.

We can help you talk to the right people, and in the past, we have helped people get back to Australia. Please contact us to learn more.

If you are Australian...

There are Australian Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates in many countries that may be able to help. Click here to find the closest one to you.

For urgent consular help, call Australia's 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or send an SMS text to +61 421 269 080. Reverse charges are available if needed.

Want to learn more?

Learn how My Blue Sky can help you

Read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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