Statement attributable to Australian Red Cross Trafficking Lead, Lina Garcia-Daza:
Australian Red Cross welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement of the new Forced Marriage Specialist Support Program as an important new initiative that gives effect to the First Action Plan under the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-2032.
In our role to reduce human suffering, Australian Red Cross has been advocating for needs-based prevention and early intervention support for those experiencing, or at risk of experiencing forced marriage, for several years.
Through our delivery of the Support for Trafficked People Program, we have identified and highlighted critical gaps, prevention measures and support needs for those at risk of or in a forced marriage.
While the Support for Trafficked People Program offers people who have left a situation of exploitation an opportunity to recover from their experiences, it was not designed as a prevention model. Providing support to people at risk of forced marriage and working with their family members and the communities affected by forced marriage, is key to addressing this issue.
Our recommendations to Government included introducing a needs-based, holistic model of support which incorporates primary prevention work and has linkages to specialist family mediation and conflict resolution services.
The Government’s announcement will address many of our recommendations and make a real difference to those at risk. We look forward to continuing to work with the Government to support every person experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, forced marriage.
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