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The Australian Senate Publishes Inquiry on Dowry Abuse, Criminalization Ruled Out


In order to establish practice of dowry in Australia, the committee heard arguments both in favour and against of it.

In the report it is recommended that, in the subsection 4AB(2) of the Family Law Act 1975 is taking care “economic abuse” as a form of family violence and the subsection of the said act also including dowry abuse.

Committee Suggested not to Criminalise Dowry Abuse

The committee said that dowry practice is widely misused in India and is not effective in preventing dowry abuse, besides it is not good for society, enabling a system that will promote false complaints. Report also mention that, criminalizing may give unintended result and may isolate women and also cause harm to them.

The report referred the definition of dowry-related violence by The United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women as “any act of violence or harassment associated with the giving or receiving of dowry at any time before, during or after the marriage”.

Necessity to Document the Dowry Harassment

The committee recommended the necessity to document the dowry harassment related issues and its connection with other form of domestic violence. Only Victoria state has considered the dowry harassment under violence in family and there is no such reference of dowry in Australian Family Law. The committee also recommends Australian government to work cohesively with the states and territories to synchronise existing legislation.

Interview with psychiatrist Dr Manjula O’Connor

In an interview with SBS Punjabi December last year, psychiatrist Dr Manjula O’Connor, said that she observed domestic violence due to increasing dowry harassment within the Indian families residing at Australian, and referring the Australia’s South Asian community she also represented the number of dowry related abuse to 72 which was documented. In the interview she claimed that during private psychiatry practice almost 40 percent women harassed for dowry.

Dr Manjula O’Connor
Dr Manjula O’Connor

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