Talk to someone
If you feel scared at home, if there is fighting between your parents that is scary, the best thing you can do is speak to someone you trust.
It’s great to speak to a friend your own age but it’s REALLY important to find an adult you can trust and talk to them, because they can help keep you safe.
STEP 1: FIND THE RIGHT ADULT
The “right adult” is someone you trust.
Draw around your hand on a piece of paper.
Write the name of an adult you can trust on each finger, and then add their phone number.
These are the people you will try talking to.
To help you think of five people, here is a list of some ideas:
- An older cousin
- Uncle or Auntie
- A sports coach
- A teacher
- A nurse
- A doctor
- A babysitter
- An older brother or sister (or their friends)
- The police
- Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
Some adults will know how to help you, but others might not.
If you talk to someone and they can’t help you or be trusted, you can keep trying to find someone and get their help instead.
Don’t give up until you find the “right adult”.
If you can’t find anyone you can trust, call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800
STEP 2: CHOOSE A GOOD TIME TO TALK
Ask the person on your list if they have time to talk in private.
For example, find a teacher before or after class and ask something like, “I need to talk to you in private, is there a good time to talk alone?” You can also ask them if it’s okay to text, talk on the phone, write a letter or email, which might be easier.
STEP 3: STARTING THE CONVERSATION
It’s really really hard for anyone to talk about things like this. You’ll probably feel uncomfortable, shy, confused, nervous or even sick in the stomach when you try.
So it helps if you plan what you’re going to say. You can start the conversation like this:
- I feel scared at home…
- I’m worried about my mum and dad.
- My dad/stepdad is hurting my mum.
- Can I tell you about some things that happen at home?
STEP 4: KNOW WHEN TO KEEP A SECRET, AND WHEN NOT TO
If an adult thinks you or someone in your family is in danger, they have to tell someone else to make sure you are safe. This might be the police or a family violence service hotline.
They should tell you what they are going to do. They are doing what is safest for you.
STEP 5: ORGANISE YOUR THOUGHTS
The best way to explain a situation is to describe what happened and how it made you feel. You could say something like:
- When my dad talks to my mum, I feel worried for her.
- I feel confused because my dad is nice to me, but horrible to my mum.
- When my step-dad is angry, I feel scared.
- When I think about going home, I feel sick.
STEP 6: TAKE YOUR TIME
It’s hard to talk about upsetting things. Plan what you’re going to say by writing it down and bringing it with you. You can stop at any time and take a few breaths to stay calm. You can say something like:
- This is hard for me to talk about. I need to take my time
- I can’t find the words to tell you what I want to say. Could I write it down instead?
STEP 7: TELL THEM WHAT YOU WANT TO HAPPEN
Let them know what you want to happen and how they can help you.
This could be things like,
- I want to feel safe at home.
- I want my mum/brothers/sisters to be safe at home.
- I want my dad/step dad to stop being nasty.
- I just need to talk to someone.
WHAT IF THEY CAN’T HELP ME?
Some people might not know what to do. They might be surprised or confused or not understand.
Don’t worry about their reaction – it is not your fault. If they can’t help or make you feel better, find someone else and try again.