Dowry in Australia is not illegal, therefore it can be practiced with impunity. In the majority of cases women Only Victoria has gone on to recognise dowry, the related abuse and criminalisation. In New South Wales we have had had little support from the State Government who refer to it economic or financial abuse; and say the existing laws already deal effectively with the issues. The evidence however suggests this not to be the case even in non-dowry related cases.
- Report – The Constitutional Affairs References Committee on the Practice of Dowry & The Incidence of Dowry Abuse in Australia 2019
- Summary & Recommendations The Royal Commission into Family Violence 2016
- Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007
ANTI-DOWRY CAMPAIGN IN AUSTRALIA
There are not specific Dowry laws in Australia, it is not illegal and dowry recovery is absorbed into property settlements which can be complicated.
Proper definition and acknowledgement of dowry abuse in domestic or family violence was one of the recommendations from the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence in 2016.
In 2018, the Senate referred to Legal & Constitutional Affairs References Committee an enquiry on The PRACTICE OF DOWRY & THE INCIDENCE OF DOWRY ABUSE IN AUSTRALIA. The final report made twelve recommendations (see Senate Enquiry Recommendations), but did not consider the criminalisation of Dowry to be appropriate for Australia.
The Senate Enquiry report cited the lack of remedy or elimination of dowry practices to have resulted from criminalisation in other countries, particularly India as one of the reasons for not making dowry illegal. ICSA refutes this as there is a presumption that legal systems work identically to draw this conclusion. We know that:
- The legal system works very differently in India, cases can take 10-20 years before the courts, which is a barrier in considering taking up legal action. This would not occur in Australia.
- The reporting, investigation and prosecution processes in Australia are far more robust, therefore a fair investigation can be undertaken.
- Legal systems and processes are far more subject to influence from money, power and political players. Australia’s legal systems are not subject to the same corruptive practices.
- Family law provisions are different between the countries
- Along with a federal system, there are local by-laws, practices and tribal justice systems that can come into play. It’s a one system process in Australia.