Most families have arguments and family members sometimes don’t get along. This is normal, but if an adult in your family is hurting, humiliating, threatening or frightening other people in your family then this could be domestic violence.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is when one parent fights and bullies the other. There might be yelling, screaming and hitting. Unfortunately domestic violence happens in many homes.

Violence at home is never the kids fault, even if they are arguing about you or they say you caused it. There is nothing you can do that can cause an adult to be violent. You are not to blame for something that someone else has done wrong.

If you’re a child or young person living in a house where there is domestic violence, remember:

  • Don’t put yourself in any danger to try and protect someone else.
  • You are not alone–there are people who can help you.
  • If you or someone else is getting hurt and you need help right away, phone Triple Zero (000). Ask for the police.

What you can do

Living with violence and abuse is hard to deal with, but there may be some steps you can take.

Plan to keep yourself safe

Here are some things you could consider:

  • Work out who you can trust to talk to about what is happening in your home.
  • Find a safe place in the house where you can go when the violence is happening.
  • Plan the best way to get out of your house quickly.
  • Ask a neighbour or friend who lives nearby if you can go to their house in an emergency. Make a plan for how to get there.
  • Make a list of people you want to call if you have to leave home quickly. Make sure you have their telephone numbers written down in a safe place or in your mobile.

Talk to an adult you trust about what is happening.

  • It should be someone you can trust like a relative, teacher or school guidance officer. Try to explain how you or your family has been hurt even though it may be hard to find the right words. If the person doesn’t listen or doesn’t believe you, tell someone else.

The most important thing you can do is make sure you are safe. NEVER ever try to stop the fighting because you can get hurt.

  • Leave the room where the fighting is happening straight away
  • Go somewhere safe like your bedroom or outside to hide and wait there until it is safe to come out
  • If you have brothers and sisters try to all wait together
  • If you have a phone you can call for help – ring the police on 000

Where can I go if I want advice in the ACT?

Help is always available.

The Domestic Violence Crisis Service

The Domestic Violence Crisis Service offers young people the same range of services it does to any one else who contacts them. Often DVCS make contact with a young person is through the school system or a youth service. Many young people ring them and talk over the issues as well. DVCS is always able to meet you (in a safe place) to talk over what is happening in your relationship or family.

You can contact DVCS 24/7 on 62 800 900.

The Canberra Rape Crisis Centre

The Canberra Rape Crisis Centre (CRCC) is available for any woman, or child who has experienced any form of sexual abuse (adult rape, childhood sexual abuse, ritual abuse or sexual harassment) whether it is a recent assault or an assault that happened years ago. CRCC can provide:

  • Confidential counselling and support for children who have experienced any form of sexual assault recently or in the past
  • Immediate crisis appointments for children
  • Confidential counselling and practical support for children and their non-offending parents who have experienced rape or sexual abuse recently or in the past

Phone: (02) 6247 2525 (crisis line)

Where else can I find support?

Here are some useful websites:

The Bursting the bubble website helps you to work out what’s okay in a family and what’s not. It tells you what you can do if someone in your family is hurting or abusing you or another member of your family.

Working out whether you’re in an abusive relationship isn’t always easy. Learning the signs of an abusive relationship can give some perspective.

The Reachout website provides advice for young people on topics relating to abuse and violence, including domestic violence, physical violence, emotional abuse, signs of an abusive relationship, childhood abuse, sexual assault and sexual consent.

Sex, Love and Other Stuff is a booklet developed for young men, with young men, that talks about sex, relationships, power and respect.

The Teen Health website has lots of information on teen health including relationships, domestic violence and living with violence.