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.
What is domestic violence?
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: 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 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 the Child Abuse Fact Sheet for more information: http://www.lawstuff.org.au/legal-help/resources/Child-Abuse.
What can I do?
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 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.
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.
What will happen if I report?
If you call the Police or the Crisis Care Helpline, information you give them is kept confidential – 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.
- Crisis Care Unit:
Call 1800 199 008 or 08 9223 1111 orTTY 13 14 50
They provide 24 hour telephone information and counselling service for people in crisis needing urgent help.
(National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service)
Call 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800respect.org.au
They can provide 24 hour counselling, support and referral for anyone whose life has been impacted by sexual, domestic or family violence.
For any legal questions you have, write us a Lawmail and we can give you free legal advice, information and referrals to local services. To send us a Lawmail, visit the Lawstuff website at www.lawstuff.org.au – then select your State or Territory’s Lawstuff page and follow the links to send us a Lawmail.
Disclaimer: This is legal information not advice specific to you. If you would like specific advice about a legal question, please send us a Lawmail.
This page was last reviewed in 2012.