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, sometimes called family violence, is when someone close to you threatens you or does something to harm you. Domestic violence is not just physical violence.
There are a lot of ways domestic violence can happen, some common examples 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: constantly criticising your personality, your looks or the way you dress, threatening to disclose your sexual orientation to others, constantly putting you down or intimidating or tormenting you, preventing you from contacting your family, friends or culture, threatening to commit suicide or self-harm, threatening to harm another person;
- 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, forcing you to sign a loan, not allowing you to work, removing or threatening to remove your property without their permission;
- damaging your property or harming your pets:
- threatening to do any of these things; or
- any other coercive behaviour either directed at you or at a family member.
This person can be someone in your family or can be your boyfriend or girlfriend, someone living with you, a relative, a parent or carer, or even your parent’s partner.
Domestic violence can happen to you, or to 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 site 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 exposed to domestic violence, this could 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 and 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 Protection Crisis Line on 131 278. Through the Department of Human Services, they can deal with the care and protection of young people affected by Domestic Violence. You can also call one of their regional numbers below.
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 Crisis Hotline, 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 a Family Violence Intervention Order.
(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.
- Child Protection Crisis Line (Department of Human Services)
Call 13 12 78 or visit http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/for-individuals/children,-families-and-young-people
The Child Protection Crisis Line is an after-hours line that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You can also call one of the Regional Crisis Line below between 9am to 5pm:
|South-western||1800 075 599|
| Western ||1800 000 551|
|North-western ||1800 675 598|
|North-eastern||1800 650 227|
|Eastern and south-eastern||1800 020 202|
- 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 Victoria:
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