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  Image Credit: Julian Kingma, The Weekend Australian

Now On Sale - Daughters of Durga

       Dowries, Gender Violence and Family in Australia


"A searing, often shocking study of family violence.” - Age

The Indian-born clinical psychiatrist, teacher and campaigner has become a one-woman army against the practice of dowry in Australia. The dowry system – in which the family of a girl or woman betrothed to be married will shower gifts upon the family of her intended husband – is illegal in India, but remains a widespread practice both there and in Australia. 

O’Connor argues dowry abuse is fundamentally tied to family violence taking place in Indian-Australian communities. Her relentless lobbying led to dowry abuse being added to the Victorian criminal code as a form of family abuse in 2018. 

Her new book, Daughters of Durga, draws on her research and clinical experience. It introduces readers to the complexities of family violence as experienced by South Asian migrant women in Australia, with a primary focus on Indian women.

“Inspiring and deeply humane, this book is a revelation about patriarchy, love, abuse and power, and into how an ancient culture has within it the key to its future. O’Connor is a thrilling thinker - I could not put this book down.”

- Jess Hill, Author of See What You Made Me Do

Purchase Book at Amazon or Melbourne University Press website 



Thank you for your time, help and continued generosity towards me. I feel very blessed and fortunate to have the level of support I am receiving. Ms Debra 


Dr. Manjula, I read your book in July. It was eye-opening to know the origins of some of these troublesome practices and how things have got distorted over time. But of all the chapters I best liked the last one where you describe your vision ( of re-defining manusmriti - that one was bold and blunt). I hope that many of us women put together can turn tables.

It’s brilliantly written. Highly recommend. Have mentioned to my friends who are not in this group too.

Psychiatrist Dr Vidya 



I welcome your and the National Advocacy Group’s continued engagement on the issue of
women on temporary visas experiencing DFV. I am pleased that you and many members of
the group have accepted the invitation from the Department of Home Affairs to participate in
consultations on how the migration system can better support temporary visa holders
experiencing DFV. I thank you for the valuable  contribution you made to the discussion at
the 3 July consultation session

.Minister Andrew Giles 

Adjunct Professor Manjula Datta O’Connor is an Indian-born award-winning psychiatrist in private practice. She is an author, researcher, reviewer of journals, educator, community leader, advocate, changemaker. Manjula is a published author of highly acclaimed book Daughters of Durga.

Her clinical and research interests include women’s mental health including culturally and linguistically diverse women, anxiety, depression, complex trauma, and family violence. Her research is published 

She is Hon Clinical Associate Professor at the Department of Psychiatry University of Melbourne and Adjunct Professor at University of New South Wales. Manjula is invited examiner of psychiatrists.

 She co-founded the NGO AustralAsian Centre for Human Rights and Health in 2012 and led the Victorian dowry abuse campaign, with numerous media interviews and publications.  It led to the inclusion of dowry abuse in the Family Violence Protection Act of Victoria, and more recently in the AG's National Paper on Coercive Control. Manjula is a community leader and received the coveted Australian Indian Business and Community Award.

She is invited expert to the 2017 Federal Senate Hearing into dowry abuse, advisor to a number of Government Committees, and invited expert to   Coroners' Inquests.

Manjula was awarded the distinguished psychiatrists Meritorious Award by the Australian NZ College of Psychiatrists, the Victorian Government’s Multicultural Award of Excellence in Mental Health Care of women. She served on the judging panel of Victorian Honour Roll. Her work has been cited in the Victorian and Federal Australian Parliament a number of times.  Manjula is Ambassador to Full Stop Australia. Manjula features regularly in the media.

Dr. Manjula is an established thought leader and must-have spokesperson on eliminating domestic violence and gender inequalities. She is also quoted frequently on topics ranging from enhancing gender equality, gender based empowerment, building safer families and growing resilient communities.


Dr Manjula's Recent & Upcoming Engagements



Listen to Manjula's latest contribution on ABC RN Radio


Australian Federal Women Doctors Association. About 'Daughters of Durga'  Conversation with Dr Sarah Coll. 24 April 2024 . 

Queensland based health professionals Mutual Relational Workshop . 24 April 2024.

RANZCP Section on Perinatal  and Infant Psychiatry 14-15 June.2024 Panel Member ' Family Violence , pregnancy ,mental health in migrant women' 

RANZCP Family Violence Workshop Chair "Protecting the first precious  1000 days of life." 16 June 2024 

 RANZCP Annual Congress. 21 May 2024. Chair Symposium .    "A duty of care." Role of Psychiatrists in care of patients with family violence. 



-Coroner's Inquest into murder-suicide. Invited Expert Witness. 05April 2024

-MRR Workshop. With Indian community group. 20 March 2023

-ABC radio interview on program God Forbid. Panel on   'Child-Parent Relationships'. 24 March 2024.

-Chat n Chai . In conversation with  Saleha Singh. 11 March 2024

-Family Lawyers Education Network Association. FLENA NSW. Date  26 February 2024. A lesser Known form of economical abuse; Dowry abuse

-SBS Urdu interview  "What is family violence". 8 January 2024

-RANZCP Victorian Branch Annual Conference . 2 December 2023. Invited After Dinner Speaker as the winner of Meritorious Award. My role and campaign as a psychiatrist in influencing society, laws and professional development   

-AustralAsian Centre AGM 7 December 2023. Presentation of annual report 

-All India Institute of Medical Sciences.  Rishikesh India by Video . 8 December 2023. Invited Speaker International Conference 'How to detect family violence in your patients, and what to do about it"   

-Monash University JMS Tutorial. Invited Lecturer. 1 November 2023. " Family Violence in Culturally diverse communities"

-The Indian Doctors Ladies Club invited speaker. 17 November 2023. Exploring  the drivers of family violence  and impacts- film Darlings as a case study.  

-Mental Health Professional Network. 20 November 2023.  Invited Speaker. Dowries and family violence in migrant communities.

 -Australian Government. Department of Social Services. Invited Speaker.. Video.  29 November 2023. 'Neurodiversity at workplace' 

  - Delhi University. India  World Anthropology Conference. 17 October 2023. Invited Co-Chair Panel session #130. 

-  Delhi University. India  World Anthropology Conference. 17 October 2023. Speaker.  Impact of migration on Indian women's vulnerability to gender based violence. 

-Lucknow India University of MBPG College GLOBAL CONNECTIONS: UNVEILING THE INDIAN DIAPOSRAS TRANSNATIONAL IMPACT .October 2023. Invited Key Note Speaker

 --Invited speaker to Brisbane  Writers Festival 12-14 May 2023




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