Child safety accused of ignoring child forced into marriage
A SYDNEY teenager who told her school her parents were trying to force her into an underage marriage with an older man had her pleas for help reportedly ignored in a major NSW Government blunder.
Despite receiving a report that the teenager was being exposed to "physical and psychological" abuse from her parents, NSW's Department of Family and Community Services has been accused of failing to "engage at all" with the girl.
The case was exposed by the Salvation Army's forced marriage specialist Laura Vidal, who told the NSW parliamentary committee into human trafficking that there were "critical gaps" in the response to forced marriage reports in NSW.
According to Ms Vidal, the teenager had bravely reported her parents' threats to her school after they agreed to pay a large dowry for a marriage she had told them she didn't want to enter into.
The teenager had initially been unprepared to make a decision about going to police, so the Salvation Army made a mandatory report about the situation to FACS.