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 report it or to talk to someone about it.
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 making you feel worthless, criticising your personality, your looks or the way you dress, constantly putting you down;
- threatening or intimidating you: stalking, yelling, shouting, name-calling, swearing at you;
- damaging your property or harming your pets or
- threatening to do any of these things.
This person can be someone in your family or can be your boyfriend or girlfriend, someone living with you, a relative, a parent or guardian, or even your parent’s 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.
If you are under 18 and you witness, overhear or are exposed to domestic violence, this could also be child abuse. You have the right to be safe from all types of abuse. See our factsheet on Child Abuse for more information.
Domestic/family violence is unacceptable and if you see it or are a victim of it, you should report it.
If you or anyone else is in immediate danger of being hurt, please call the Police on 000.
If you feel unsafe or are in danger you should also call the Crisis Care Helpline on 1800 199 008 or 08 9223 1111. They offer information and counselling services for people who need urgent help.
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 Care Helpline, all information you give them will be kept confidential. In other words, the person who is causing the violence will not be told that you have contacted them. 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 Violence Restraining Order or Police Order.
Call 1800 199 008 or 08 9223 1111 or TTY 13 14 50
They provide 24 hour telephone information and counselling services for people in crisis who need urgent help.
(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.
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/.
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