What should I do
If you or someone in your family is in danger, you should call the police on 000.
“I never thought I grew up in family violence – my dad never hit me or my mum. But when my father called me and my sister “sluts” and other horrible words, or kick our dog and throw and smash things we had nowhere to go. We were bullied and frightened into silence and mum was blamed for everything.”Maya
“I hated going to school – I couldn’t concentrate, I had to pretend I wasn’t worried about going home to protect my mum and brother again.”Codey
“I used to always think, what’s wrong with my family? Every few weeks dad would get weird and say nasty things to mum, we tried to stop him but it only made it worse. Mum would sit there crying.”Liz
“One of the best things that helped me was finding someone I could open up to. I told my friend and she helped me cope and didn’t feel alone anymore. She helped me make decisions and realise that it wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t okay and she always made me feel better about myself.”Andy
ASK IF THEY ARE OKAY
Let them know you’re worried about them and there to talk, for example, say ‘I’ve noticed you seem down lately, is everything ok?”
Show them that you believe them and that they did the right thing by telling you by saying something like “I’m glad that you told me.”
Remind them that when someone else makes a choice to be abusive or violent, it’s never their fault. Say something like “No one deserves to be treated like that” or “That’s not okay,” or “I think that what they are doing is wrong” and simply, “This is not your fault.”
BE A GOOD LISTENER
Let them talk about whatever they want. Don’t interrupt or try to talk for them, give them your full attention, let them know “I’m listening”. But don’t push for details unless they want to share that with you. Some people need to talk about it, but others might find some things painful to discuss.
LET THEM KNOW THEY’RE NOT ALONE
You can remind them that family violence and abuse happens in other families too. There are a lot of amazing, awesome great kids who have grown up around family violence or are experiencing it now but don’t talk about it. Remind them that they are not alone.
ENCOURAGE THEM TO GET HELP
It’s really important that they talk to a trusted grown-up and people who can help. Encourage and help them find someone they can trust, to call someone like Kids Helpline or find another service they can call. It can be hard for them to talk, so you can help them pick up the phone or have a conversation with a grown-up.
HELP THEM FIND MORE INFORMATION
Show them this website so they can find out more and learn what they can do to keep themselves safe and take care of themselves.
ASK IF YOU CAN TALK TO SOMEONE
If you feel like your friend is in danger and you need to tell someone what’s going on in their family, tell them that you’re really worried about their safety and ask them if it would be okay to talk to someone. You can say something like, “I think what’s happening in your family is not okay and I’m worried about your safety”, or “I’m worried about your mum / your brothers and sisters. I’d like to talk to my mum about it because I trust her and I think she can help you.”
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Hearing that your friend is going through abuse or family violence is upsetting and can make you feel awful. Don’t gossip about it with your friends, but find an adult (like a parent or teacher) or a support service like Kids Helpline, to talk to about your feelings without revealing your friend’s name. You don’t have to go through this alone.
“At school I felt like I didn’t fit in, I felt worried all the time. I hid from friends sometimes, because I didn’t feel happy like them. The fear and anxiety about violence at home was a part of my life, a part of me.”Jillian
“My boyfriend was in a bad situation at home. I asked my mum what she thought without using his name… She guessed who it was and invited him over and said that if there’s trouble at home then he and his sister can come to our place.”Soraya