Forced marriages – Stock-taking for effective policies against forced marriages in Austria

About the Project

Research topic and roadmap

Forced marriages may take manifold forms – some are related to sexual and economic exploitation as well as to trafficking in human beings, others aim at circumventing national immigration regimes, or rights of children are ignored in early/child marriages. Such situations raise not only complex conceptual issues but also create plenty of practical challenges for human rights protection of victims, for prevention and prosecution.

Grounded in a human rights-based approach the FORMA project – for the first time in Austria – undertakes a multi-dimensional stock-taking effort, including legal analysis and examination of root factors for forced marriages, in order to develop a set of policy measures for decision-making bodies, administration and victim protection agencies. For this purpose, an interdisciplinary research team was created under the Austrian KIRAS security research programme, which combines expertise from legal and practitioners’ fields: Caritas Vienna, Orient Express victim protection centre, University of Vienna/Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights (LBI-GMR). 2023 will see a focus on data collection and legal analysis, while the project will conclude in 2024 with a policy agenda and implementing tools.

Research focus

  • Analysis of the international legal framework based on applicable human rights standards in relation to forced marriages – status quo of current international research (lead: LBI-GMR)
  • Analysis of relevant domestic law (civil, criminal, administrative/migration law etc.)
  • Empirical research (case files, interviews), identification of root causes, analysis of available quantitative data
  • Identification of policy measures for different stakeholders (authorities, victim protection centres), development of tools for dissemination and training

Research method

In line with the mandate for a comprehensive stock-taking effort, a combination of methods will be employed, including legal analysis of legislation and practice, case studies, qualitative methods for better understanding of root causes and prerequisites for prevention. As a final step training tools will be developed for effective follow-up activities to the project.

Project Data


Helmut Sax

Senior Researcher

+43 1 4277-27424