The Support for Trafficked People Program (STPP) was originally developed in 2004 to respond to the needs of survivors of trafficking and slavery offences. It began receiving referrals for people threatened or affected by a forced marriage in 2014. Under the STPP model, these clients could receive an initial 45 days of support, with further support contingent on participating in the criminal justice process.
In practical terms, this meant engaging with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to write a statement against the person arranging the forced marriage, often a family or community member. In 2018, the Australian Government announced a new one-year trial under the STPP to allow eligible survivors of forced marriage to access a longer period of assistance without having to contribute to the criminal justice process. The Forced Marriage (FM) Trial was funded by the Department of Social Services (DSS) and delivered by Australian Red Cross (ARC). It officially commenced in June 2018 for a one-year period, but with approval of DSS, referrals for inclusion in the FM Trial were accepted from April 2018 onwards. ARC commissioned a developmental evaluation of the FM Trial to explore whether the adaptations made to the STPP would result in the following two outcomes:
- Individuals threatened or affected by forced marriage access the Support Program because of the removal of the requirement of engaging in a criminal justice process.
- Individuals threatened or affected by forced marriage are provided with more appropriate and effective support, including successful transition to independent living, due to the extended length of time on the program.
The developmental evaluation occurred over October 2018 to June 2019 and involved three short cycles of evaluation, culminating in this report on key findings, conclusions and recommendations. Evaluation participants included: clients, ARC STPP staff, AFP personnel, family and community members, external community organisation and service provider staff who participate in national and/or jurisdictional FM Networks and/or refer to or receive referrals from the STPP, and government department senior staff (Australian and State Government). Activities ranged from analysis of demographic data, service activity and key documents, to interviews, surveys and consultations.
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