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Your family may include step-parents, foster carers, mum, dad, brothers, sisters, step-siblings, cousins, aunties, grandparents and even friends. Families are people we trust to care for us. But sometimes families fight and argue.
If you feel scared because you live in a home where there is hitting, pushing, yelling, swearing, put downs, damage to belongings, scaring, controlling or bullying, then you may be experiencing what is called family violence.
The violence may not be towards you but someone else in the house. You might be watching it happen or listening to it happen. And it can be really scary and upsetting.
It's not OK if you feel scared. You have a right to be safe. Family violence is never OK. It is against the law. And it is not your fault. Every child has a right to be cared for in a home where they feel loved, accepted and safe.
Video from What's OK at home?
Video from What's OK at home?
Family violence is when someone in your family is making someone else feel scared, bullied or unsafe. There are different types of violence that you may see happening at home: physical abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, social abuse, and controlling behaviour.
It may be that the person who is supposed to take care of you, love you, and keep you safe is the person hurting you. That is definitely NOT OK. You have a right to be safe. Violence is a crime. Maybe the adults at home need someone to help them know how to keep you safe and cared for.
Violence in your family can make you feel confused, scared, angry, sad and sick. There are many kids who live with family violence. And they know what you're going through. Read real stories from kids.
Feelings are important – they're one of the ways our body tells us what's going on. When we're happy, our body tells us through our feelings. We might feel light, and want to laugh and smile.
Sometimes our body can give us a warning that we are not safe. You may not be able to sleep well, your tummy feels funny, you get headaches, you feel tired, or you want to lash out because you feel confused, embarrassed, scared, worried, guilty, ashamed, sad, or lonely.
When you have these feelings, remember: The way you're feeling is normal. Violence is not OK. It is not your fault. You have a right to be safe.
A healthy family has trust, support and respect for one another. They listen, talk and behave so that everyone feels safe and comfortable doing and saying things.
Respect is shown by listening to family members in a non-judgemental way and being supportive of everyone's right to their own feelings, friends, activities and opinions.
Honesty is shown by admitting when you're wrong and accepting responsibility for the things you do.
Responsibility means everyone agrees to share household chores and make family decisions together.
In Australia, each state has laws to keep children safe and to ensure their needs are met. In NSW, this law is the Children and Young Person (Care and Protection) Act 1998. A child is anyone aged under 18.
If you, or someone you care about, is being abused, please remember:
A safe adult is someone who can help you talk about what has happened. It can be a counsellor or teacher, your grandma or uncle. A safe adult is someone who:
Finding the words to talk about what has happened to you can be really hard. Sometimes a safe adult can help you find the words or ask questions so you can tell them what is going on.
Abuse and domestic and family violence can affect you for a long time. No matter how soon or how long ago it happened, you can get help.
If you want to talk to someone about what is happening, call:
If you’re aged 12 to 18 and looking for a safe place to stay and need emergency accommodation, call:
You can call the Child Protection Helpline at any time day or night to report abuse that is happening or has happened, or that you have seen. You can also call if you feel unsafe.
Child Protection Helpline
13 21 11
09 May 2023
We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future.
Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.
You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.