Senate inquiry into 'alarming' dowry abuse

Matt Coughlan

Dowry abuse linked to the murder and suicide of women in Australia will be scrutinised by a Senate committee as calls grow to tackle the alarming practice.

Payment of dowry is a cultural practice which happens in some countries across South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

There have been reports of domestic violence, including murder and rape, stemming from dowries in migrant communities in Australia.

It is often gold, jewellery, cash or property paid by the bride's family to the groom and his family.

Senators will hold an inquiry into dowry abuse after the issue was referred to the upper house's legal affairs committee on Tuesday.

Last month, Labor MP Julian Hill called for the inquiry, slamming "alarming" dowry abuse as completely inappropriate in modern Australia.

"Women are not property. Cultural or religious practices that suggest so are not welcome in Australia," Mr Hill told parliament in May.

"This is not a benign, esoteric issue. Dowry extortion has been recognised as a direct cause of family violence and horrific murders and suicides."

The practice was outlawed in India in 1961, but is not illegal in Australia.

Lifeline 13 11 14

beyondblue 1300 22 4636