The Speak Now Creative Arts Competition aims to empower young people to support their peers at risk of forced marriage.


What is forced marriage?

Contrary to common belief, forced marriage does happen in Australia and it can happen to anyone from any religion, culture, gender, sexuality, age, or disability.

Forced marriage is a form of family violence and modern slavery. A marriage is forced when there is no free and full consent to the marriage from one or both parties. This is different from an arranged marriage, where a marriage is organised by a person’s family, but they have the right to accept or reject the arrangement.

Forced marriage can have devastating impacts on individuals, their families and their communities.


How does Anti-Slavery Australia help?

Anti-Slavery Australia at UTS supports people who are in a forced marriage or worried about being forced to marry. We provide free and confidential legal assistance, and we also make referrals to other support services, such as counselling and housing. Additionally, we run Australia’s national forced marriage website, My Blue Sky, where anyone can access free information and resources for themselves or for someone they are helping.


The Creative Arts Competition

The theme of this creative arts competition is ‘Supporting Your Friend’. We are asking you to create an artistic work that illustrates how you can support your friend who may be at risk of forced marriage.

This is part of the prevention work that Anti-Slavery Australia does. We are aiming to raise awareness within school communities about forced marriage, empower students with the skills to support their peers and loved ones, and show them what support is available and where to get help.

By participating in this competition, you will learn what forced marriage is, what it looks like, how it affects people differently, and how you can better understand, identify and support those affected.

We will display the creative art pieces on Anti-Slavery Australia’s social media platforms.

To learn more about forced marriage and get help, go to


Details for teachers

The Speak Now Creative Arts Competition will be presented in two parts, a video and a flyer. Both are available for download below.


Part 1: Introduction Video 

The 5-minute introduction video can be played to students at assembly or in class. The video will explain:

  • What forced marriage is,
  • The risk factors for forced marriage, and
  • How to support someone who may be experiencing forced marriage. 

The video will also go through the competition details.

(Check back here later for the video)


Part 2: Creative Arts Competition

After playing the video, teachers can briefly reflect on the video and encourage students to ask questions. Following the discussions, teachers will introduce the competition to students.

Teachers will distribute flyers to students which contain the competition details on one side, and a forced marriage explainer and recap of the video on the other side.

There are also extra resources available, such as links to My Blue Sky and an advocacy toolkit to help support someone at risk of forced marriage.

If teachers receive questions from students that they are unsure about, they can contact Anti-Slavery Australia at

(Check back here later for the flyer)



Details for students 

The Speak Now Creative Arts Competition is run by Anti-Slavery Australia and its Speak Now Youth AmbassadorsThe competition is open to high school students across Australia from Years 7-12The competition aims to educate young people about the risk factors of forced marriageStudents will learn techniques to support their friends who may be at risk of forced marriage and where to find help.


1Creative Arts Competition Details 

The theme is ‘Supporting Your Friend’. Your challenge is to:

1) Create an artistic representation that answers the question: “How can you support your friend who is at risk of forced marriage?”

There are 3 streams for entries:
Visual: works such as a poster, cartoon, collage, artwork or photograph
Written: works such as a short story, poem or song lyric
Performance: recorded works such as a song, dance, skit or short play.

2) Upload your creation with your entry form. Please note that no faces are to feature in your photo.

3) Each entry must include a written paragraph (no longer than 100 words) that explains your work.

4) Submit your entries here by 5 May 2023: (opens on 14 February 2023)


2. Important Notes
  • One entry per person or group (up to 4 students in a group) 

  • Strictly no plagiarism 

  • Students must not display photos of themselves in the entry

  • All work must be respectful and sensitive to cultural and religious practices 


3. Judging 

Entries will be judged by Anti-Slavery Australia’s Youth Ambassador team and the Director of Anti-Slavery Australia, Professor Jennifer Burn. Entries will be assessed according to content, creativity, originality, effort, and quality of both the work and the written explanation.


4. Entries
  1. The opening date for entries is 14 February 2023 (Valentine’s Day).
  2. Entries must be uploaded on the online entry form. Check back here later for the online entry form.
  3. Images should be a maximum of 2MB).
  4. Image file namesshould be saved using the student’s name and school namee.g. SmithH_SydneyHigh.jpeg
  5. If for any reason you are unable to use the online entry form, please contact us by email at
  6. By submitting an entry, the student acknowledges that they have read and accepted the Terms and Conditions for the Speak Now Creative Arts Competition. Check back here later for the Terms and Conditions.
  7. The entry must be the student’s original work, created for the competition.
  8. Anti-Slavery Australia will acknowledge all entries received. It is your responsibility to ensure that we have received your entry.
  9. Your work may be exhibited at a public event later in 2023. More information will be provided closer to the event.
  10. The closing date is 5 May 2023 and winners will be announced in May-June 2023.

For more information, please contact us at



  • Visual stream: $500 for 1st place, $200 for runner-up
  • Written stream: $500 for 1st place, $200 for runner-up
  • Performance stream: $500 for 1st place, $200 for runner-up
  • School prize: $1000 to the school that submits the most entries

The total prize pool is $3100.

Each entrant will receive a certificate of participation from Anti-Slavery Australia.