CRUCIAL funding to research the growing problem of teenage forced marriages was rejected by the under-fire Australian Research Council.
The federal and NSW governments have both questioned the decision to reject funding for the study, saying they fear child-bride marriages are far more common than previously thought. Associate Professor Jennifer Burn from the University of Technology, Sydney and Director of Anti-Slavery Australia, said she applied for funding to explore the issue of forced marriages in NSW, but her application was “knocked back” by the Council earlier this year.
The Australian Research Council (ARC) has been accused by the newly-elected federal government of “wasteful” spending on unnecessary projects. This includes grants for research into how people could adapt to climate change through public art, and another project into the meaning of “I” involving a retrospective study of 18th and 19th century German existentialists. Ms Burn said the area of forced marriages was under-researched and her project sought to quantify how prevalent it was in the community. “There’s a lot of work to be done,” Ms Burn told The Sunday Telegraph, adding that in NSW it was widely suspected to be a much bigger problem than on paper.