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Forced Marriage Act 1961 (Cth)

Decent Essays
According to section 5 of the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) marriage can be defined as “…the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.” (AustiLII, n.d.). However, there are also forms of illegal marriage such as forced marriage. Filed under section 270.7A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), forced marriage can be defined as an illegal marriage whereby the victim entered into the marriage without freely and fully consenting usually due to the use of coercion, threat or deception or because the victim was mentally incapable of understanding the nature and effect of the marriage ceremony (Office of Parliamentary Counsel, 2015).
Coercion is the action or practice of persuading someone to do something
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Also, if a person is forced into marriage then it gives an opportunity for their partner and other family members to come and reside in Australia.
A 2011 case, Kreet v Sampir, Ms Kreet, the victim, wished for her marriage to Mr Sampir to be annulled as it was not a valid marriage under Australian law. Ms Kreet married her husband under duress from her family, therefore not giving her free and full consent making the marriage invalid under the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth). The marriage was then annulled (AustLII, 2011). In this case, Ms Kreet believed that her family was taking her overseas to be married to her boyfriend, Mr U, however while overseas, under duress, she was forced to marry Mr Sampir.
An example of duress is having one party forcing another party to sign a contract at gunpoint. In the case Kreet v Sampir duress was used by Ms Kreet’s father as he claimed that he would have her boyfriend’s mother and sisters kidnapped and
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This means that more can be done to assist in decreasing the amount of forced marriages in Australia.
One way is to educate students, teachers and religious figures who are able to conduct marriages about forced marriage and its impacts. By educating people, there is a lesser risk of victims of forced marriage suffering silently and there is also a higher chance of detecting forced marriage victims amongst both school and religious communities. Religious figures, such as priests and imams, will also be able to understand the consequences of conducting a forced marriage and will also aid in preventing it.
Another recommendation which will benefit stakeholders is to alter the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) to ensure that minors should be able to consent to a marriage along with their parents and in the presence of an authority figure such as a lawyer or a police officer. If this change is implemented then there is a lesser risk of a minor being forcefully married as there is an authority figure present and they would feel less pressured to succumb to the
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