‘Speak Now’: A Forced Marriage Education and Prevention Project

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Speak Now is a community-based project that aims to prevent forced marriage and other forms of modern slavery in the home. We will be engaging with young people, communities and service providers from across Australia to co-develop a range of educational and awareness-raising initiatives as well as to update the My Blue Sky website.

Our Approach

Forced marriage, and other forms of modern slavery in the home, can happen to anyone from any background. These practices are often hidden and misunderstood, but can have devastating consequences for the individuals, families and communities affected. Best practice research and experience tells us that the most effective approach to achieving positive change is through community engagement and capacity-building.
Speak Now’s participatory approach strives for the genuine inclusion of diverse experiences and perspectives. We recognise the complexities and misconceptions around forced marriage in particular, and aim to address these through meaningful engagement with young people, communities and others whose voices are often excluded from these conversations. By collaborating with young people, communities and service providers from across Australia, we hope to raise awareness around forced marriage and other forms of modern slavery in the home, and build their capacity to respond to these situations in their everyday lives.

Project Initiatives

From now until June 2022, we will be collaborating with young people, people with lived experience, frontline workers and communities on the following initiatives:

  • A youth campaign – designed through consultation with young people, the online youth campaign will promote consent-based decision-making and raise awareness about forced marriage and healthy relationships amongst young people.
  • Consultations about My Blue Sky – which will be updated through User Experience (UX) workshops with young people and frontline individuals.
  • Co-developed resources – for frontline workers, communities and families on how to identify, address and prevent forced marriage and other forms of modern slavery in the home.
  • A podcast series – a conversation starter on forced marriage, featuring the experiences and expertise of people from diverse professional and personal backgrounds, including people with lived experience.

Get Involved

We are looking to collaborate with people who have an interest in forced marriage (and other forms of modern slavery in the home), including those who have encountered these issues or think they may in the future – whether in their professional, personal or family life. We are committed to being inclusive and listening to the voices of young people and people with lived experience in particular. We welcome participants from diverse genders, sexualities, ages, abilities, cultures, ethnicities and religions.

Are you a young person aged 16–23 or do you work with young people in this age group?

Applications for the Speak Now Youth Program are now closed, but we will be running an online youth campaign to promote healthy relationships and raise awareness of forced marriage in 2022. If you are interested in knowing about this campaign when it launches, please express your interest via the link below.

If you work with young people, you can also get involved in other aspects of the project by expressing your interest via the link below.

Do you have experience or an interest in forced marriage, whether personal or professional?

We welcome anyone with experience or an interest in forced marriage (including survivors, family members and community leaders) to potentially contribute to our podcast and co-developed resources. To discuss how you can get involved, please express your interest via the link below.

Do you work in one of the following areas?

  • Secondary or tertiary education
  • Youth work
  • Health, including the disability sector
  • Family and domestic violence
  • Migrant and refugee settlement
  • Faith communities.

If so, we would love to collaborate with you on co-developing resources for your area of work and/or include you in our podcast series. Please express your interest via the link below.

Please submit your expressions of interest here as soon as possible. To learn more about this project, please contact the Speak Now team at ASAresearch@uts.edu.au or (02) 9514 3834.

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Speak Now is funded by the Department of Social Services (DSS) under the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022.

All information gathered as part of this research project will be handled in accordance with strict confidentiality, ethics and child safety measures.

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