Children and young people can experience violence too. If you are living in a home where there is pushing or hitting, yelling and screaming, swearing and put downs or damage to property you are witnessing domestic or family violence. This is probably very upsetting for you, and it could also be very frightening.
Violence and abuse in your home is never your fault and it is always wrong.
We hope this information can help you learn more about violence, how to keep safe, who you can speak to and how to get help if you or someone you know is being hurt or threatened, including your pets.
The violence at your home might be directed towards your mother or father, your brother or sister, a grandparent, a pet or another family member. You might not see the violence or abuse, you might only hear it.
If the violence or abuse is directed at you, or another child, this is called child abuse.
What is domestic and family violence
Domestic and family violence can be lots of things. It’s not just being hurt physically. There are many different types of violence that can happen, for example:
- physical – such as hitting, pushing, biting, punching
- verbal – such as yelling, screaming and swearing
- emotional and psychological – such as name calling and put downs
- financial – such as limiting access to bank accounts, not allowing someone to get a job, not giving someone enough money to pay for household needs
- sexual abuse – such as touching that is not ok.
It doesn’t have to happen only at your home. Domestic and family violence can happen anywhere, at any time, to anyone.
You might feel you have done something wrong, or something to cause the violence or abuse in your home. This is not true as violence and abuse is never ok. You might:
- blame yourself for the violence
- feel frightened or scared
- feel sad, unhappy or confused
- feel embarrassed or ashamed
- feel sick or have stomach pains or headaches
- not feel like eating
- cry a lot more than usual
- sleep poorly or have nightmares or wet the bed
- find school or activities difficult
- lose interest in your school, activities or your friends
- find it difficult to concentrate
- feel like running away or hiding
- want to hurt yourself or someone else
- find it difficult to talk
- worry about the safety of someone in your family or your pet
- take drugs or alcohol to cope.
Remember these things
If you are worried you or someone close to you is being abused please remember:
- The person using violence might blame you, or make you feel responsible, ashamed or guilty about it.
- You are not to blame for someone else’s actions. What they have done is wrong and it is not your fault. It is not a special secret, it is against the law.
- It is okay to tell someone what is happening. There are people who will listen to what you have to say and who are able to help you.
- There is nothing in the world so awful that it can’t be talked about. There is always someone available to listen to you and help you.
There are things you can do to make yourself safer. These things include:
- Talking to someone you can trust. This might be the police, KidsHelpline, your friend’s parents, a school teacher or counsellor. Or you can call our 24/7 crisis telephone line 02 6280 0900.
- Keep telling different people. If you are worried that the person you are telling isn’t listening to you, then tell someone else.
- Your body belongs to you and only to you. There is no reason for any person to touch any part of your body in a way that makes you uncomfortable, scared, confused or hurt. If someone is touching you, it is ok to tell them to stop.
- Understanding the difference between safe and unsafe touching. Safe touching might be hugging your friends or family members, holding hands with a friend or play wrestling with your brother or sister. Any touching that makes you feel uncomfortable, scared, confused or hurt is unsafe touching.
Need to talk?
If you want to talk to someone about what is happening to you, or someone you are worried about, you can call the following numbers any time of the day or night:
You can also talk to someone you are comfortable with and that you trust. Someone who is able to keep you or the person you are worried about safe and help you. This might be a neighbour, a teacher, a friend’s parent or another family member.
Remember, our crisis telephone line is open 24 hours every day of the year and we are able to help you and your family.
We do not make any sound recordings of our conversations. You do not need to give us your name, but if you do we make notes that we spoke to you. If you are unsure, please let us know at the start of the call and we can tell you about our confidentiality policy.