Domestic violence, sometimes called family violence, is against the law. You have the right to feel safe at home and you should never have to see or experience it. It is okay to complain and to talk to someone.
Domestic violence is when someone close to you threatens you or does something to harm you or someone else in your family.
Domestic violence can include:
- physical assault: punching, hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, choking, or using weapons;
- sexual assault: being forced to have sex or do sexual activities, either by watching or participating;
- emotional or psychological abuse: making you feel worthless, criticising your personality, your looks, the way you dress, constantly putting you down, threatening to hurt you, your children, or your pets, following you or going to places that you visit often, or recklessly driving a car that you are in;
- economic abuse: taking control of the money and not letting you have a say in how it is spent, not giving you enough money to survive on, forcing you to hand over your money, not letting you work, forcing you to sign a loan;
- threatening or intimidating you: stalking, yelling, shouting, name-calling, swearing at you (this could be spoken or in writing, for example through SMS texting or Facebook);
- damaging your property or harming your pets; or
- any other controlling behaviour directed at you or at a family member: stopping you from seeing your friends and family, or isolating you from others.
This person can be someone in your family or can be a boyfriend or girlfriend, someone living with you, a relative, a parent or carer, or even your parents’ partner.
Domestic violence can happen to you, or someone else in your family, e.g. violence between your parents. If you see it happening to someone else in your family you should still report it.
You can also be a victim of domestic violence even where you are not directly involved. This is called exposure to domestic violence and it includes situations where you hear or witness domestic violence occurring.
For example you could be exposed to domestic violence by:
- Overhearing threats of physical abuse by one family member towards another family member;
- Seeing or hearing an assault of a family member by another family member;
- Comforting or providing assistance to a family member who has been physically abused by another family member;
- Cleaning up a mess after a family member has intentionally damaged another family member’s property;
- Being present when police officers attend an incident involving physical abuse of a family member by another family member.
If you are under 25 and are exposed to domestic violence, this could also be child abuse. You have the right to be safe from all types of abuse. See the Child Abuse Fact Sheet for more information.
Domestic violence is unacceptable. If you see it occur or are a victim of it, you should report it. Everyone has a right to be safe from any type of violence.
If you or anyone else is in immediate danger of being hurt, call the Police immediately on 000.
If you feel unsafe or are in danger you should also call the 24 Hours Child Abuse Report Line on 131 478. This is provided by the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion, who deal with the care and protection of young people.
If you feel unsafe in your home because of the violence that is happening, it is important to talk to someone. If you do not speak to anyone, or report what is happening, then no one will know what is going on and they can’t help you.
You could talk to an adult you trust and feel comfortable with, like a family friend or your teacher. Below is a list of important contacts you can call if you need to talk to someone else.
If you call the Police or the Child Abuse Report Line, information you give is kept confidential – the person who is causing the violence will not be told that you have contacted the authorities.
The Police or the authorities may investigate what is happening. If they are worried about your safety, a court order can be made preventing the person from hurting you, such as an Intervention Order.
- Domestic Violence Crisis Service:
Call 1300 782 200
You can call this is crisis response service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can provide a telephone assessment and referral service for people escaping domestic violence.
(National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service)
Call 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800respect.org.au
They provide 24 hour counselling, support and referral for anyone whose life has been impacted by sexual, domestic or family violence.
- Kids Helpline
You may like to call someone at Kids Helpline. This is a very supportive service to help people from age 5 to 25 years old, and they keep everything confidential. You don’t even have to give them your name or personal details if you don’t want to. You can call them 24 hours a day on 1800 55 1800. It’s a free call from any Telstra, Optus or Vodafone mobile.
You can also email them at: http://kidshelp.com.au/teens/get-help/email-counselling/. They also have an online chat service at http://www.kidshelp.com.au/teens/get-help/web-counselling/.
- Domestic Violence Resource Centre SA:
They provide online information, resources, help & advice on issues of domestic violence.
- Bursting the Bubble
This is a website designed specifically for children and young people on issues of domestic violence.
If you’re under 25 and have some questions about reporting domestic violence, please send us a Lawmail and we can give you free, confidential information and advice. We won’t tell anyone, including your parents or other members of your family.
Page last updated 21 June 2015
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