I am under 18

I am worried about things that are happening with some of the adults in my life
My dad is really mean to mum.
Sometimes my dad hurts my mum.
I hate going home because there is always yelling and fighting.
There are people in my life who I don’t like because they make me do things I hate but I’m too scared to say no.

If you feel scared or unsafe at home or with the adults in your life then things are not OK. Sometimes adults like parents and teachers ask us to do things that we don’t want to do like homework or chores around the house. You might not like doing these things but they are usually things that we feel safe doing even if they are boring. Sometimes adults put children and teenagers in situations where the things they are asked to do, or the things they see or hear are not OK.

Here is a list of things that some children and teens experience that are not safe or ok:

  • Seeing an adult in your home hurt by another adult
  • Hearing an adult in your home call people names or threatening to hurt others
  • Having adults in your home hurt you, threaten you or call you names
  • Having your things taken away, broken or trashed or having someone hurt or threaten to hurt your pets
  • Taking away things you need to stay healthy like food, water, warm clothes, medicine or a safe place to sleep

If any of these things have happened to you then you might be experiencing domestic violence. This means that someone in your life is using abuse and violence to make you or others scared so they will have power over you. Sometimes adults think that children don’t know when violence or abuse is happening around them. They might think that you don’t know what is happening, but this isn’t true. It can be really scary to know that people in your house are being hurt or that you might be hurt at any time.

What can I do?

There are special people set up to help children and young people who are experiencing domestic or family violence.
If you or anyone else is ever in immediate danger call the police on 000.
If you want to talk to someone about the violence happening at home you can call Kidshelpline 1800 55 1800 – it’s free to call from your mobile phone or you can go online at www.kidshelp.com.au.
If you ever have to leave home without a parent and you are 14 years of age or under call Crisis Care on 13 16 11.
If you are aged 15–25 years you can call the Youth Gateway Service on 1300 306 046 or after hours call Crisis Care on 131 611.
1800 RESPECT is a good website that can give you lots of good information

 

I am worried about some things happening in my relationship with my boyfriend or girlfriend
My boyfriend makes me feel like I always have to do what he wants or else.
I have had sex when I didn’t really want to because I felt like I had to.
I get afraid that my partner will break up with me if I’m not the perfect girlfriend.
My boyfriend sometimes hits me but it’s usually because I’ve done something wrong.
My boyfriend is always jealous of me hanging out with other people, but only because he loves me.

If any of these things have or are happening to you then you might be experiencing domestic violence.

Does this sound familiar?

  • My partner likes to tell me what to wear and gets annoyed if I don’t agree
  • Since I started seeing my boyfriend he doesn’t like me to go anywhere without him
  • My partner is really sweet to me in private but often puts me down in front of his friends
  • My boyfriend says if I love him I will have sex with him whenever he needs me too
  • When I’m being too emotional my partner slaps me so I’ll calm down
  • My boyfriend texts me every hour when we’re not together and gets angry if I don’t text back

This is domestic violence and it is NOT OK.

Are you are in a relationship? Some relationships can be wonderful and exciting, however it is important to remember that you have a right to feel safe and be treated with respect at all times. Domestic violence is when someone in a relationship uses fear or violence to manipulate you or control what you think and do.
Young women are more at risk of experiencing violence and abuse than any other age group1. No matter how much someone says they love or care for you it does not give them the right to act violently or abusively towards you. Domestic violence is wrong and can even be illegal. It doesn’t usually get better in fact it is often something that happens time and time again, in a cycle. To find out more about domestic violence click here.
Mouzos & Makkai, 2004, Women’s Experiences of Male Violence Findings from the Australian Component of the International Violence Against Women Survey (IVAWS), http://www.aic.gov.au/documents/5/8/D/%7B58D8592E-CEF7-4005-AB11-B7A8B4842399%7DRPP56.pdf)

What can I do?

Adults have a responsibility to keep you safe. Even if you can’t talk to your parents, think about who are the other trusted adults in your life. You could talk to a teacher, school counsellor, a sports coach, a youth worker, your doctor or even a friend’s parent.

There are special people set up especially to help children and young people who are experiencing domestic or family violence.

If you or anyone else is ever in immediate danger, call the police on 000.

If you want to talk to someone about the violence happening at home you can call Kidshelpline 1800 55 1800 – it’s free to call from your mobile phone or you can go online at www.kidshelp.com.au.

If you ever have to leave home without a parent and you are 14 years of age or under call Crisis Care on 13 16 11. If you are aged 15–25 years you can call the Youth Gateway Service on 1300 306 046 or after hours call Crisis Care on 131 611.

1800 RESPECT is a good website that can give you lots of reliable information.

 

I am a mother concerned about how domestic violence is affecting my children
Many parents think that they have protected or hidden the violence and abuse occurring in their home from their children. Even if the violence has never been directed towards the children in your home, children are always impacted by domestic violence in their lives.

This might include:

  • Problems at school, behavioural issues, and mental health issues that can impact on the relationship between mother and child.
  • Brain development.
  • Developmental delay – speech delays.
  • Extreme shyness.
  • ADD or ADHD symptoms.
  • Nightmares.
  • Toileting issues.
  • Bullying or being bullied at school.

You can make a change in your children’s lives by letting them know that violence and abuse are never ok.

  • You can help your child
  • Tell them the violence isn’t their fault
  • Give them permission to talk about the violence
  • Listen to their feelings about their family life
  • Help them make a safety plan
  • Let them know they are not alone and other children have been through similar experiences
  • Involve children in making decisions about the family where appropriate
  • Keep children informed of changes that may affect their lives

(adapted from Southern Domestic Violence Action Group, No one Need Live in Fear, The Purple Book – Edition 6 – 2013)