What's up at home


Whether you call them your mob, your relos, your clan or your people, all kinds of families can be awesome and also annoying.

They can be huge or small, they can include step-parents, half-sisters, distant relatives, second cousins and even close friends. Families are the people who care for each other while growing up.

It can be normal when family members argue (although it’s not great), but if someone in your family seems scared of someone else, that is not okay.

psst, watch the video instead

“Growing up I had no idea that there was family violence between my mum and dad. He’d never hit her but I’d seem him stand over her, grabbing her, yelling at her. That look in his eye was enough to keep her under his control.”

Family violence is when someone hurts, frightens, controls, bullies and intimidates someone else in their family.

This can be anyone including your parents, step-parents, grandparents, foster parents, aunts or uncles, your carer, your parent’s boyfriend or their ex-boyfriend.

And even if that person is hurting someone else and not you, it can still have a huge impact on how you feel.

Family violence is not just physical abuse.

If a person is physically, sexually, emotionally, psychologically or economically abusive, threatening or controlling another person in their family, that’s family violence.

Family violence is often a repeated pattern of behaviour, it is not okay, it is a form of abuse and if you’re under 18 and you are witnessing family violence happening to someone in your family that is definitely not okay.

“We were all scared of him. He would fly into rages and demand perfect school results and swear and smash the table with his fist. Dad gave the silent treatment whenever mum tried to disagree with him.”

How to recognise family violence

Family violence is usually a pattern of many things that keep happening, and can include:

Physical abuse
  • Hitting, kicking, slapping, pinching someone
  • Pushing them
  • Smashing or throwing things
  • Threatening someone
Emotional abuse
  • Constantly putting someone down
  • Insulting someone and calling them names
  • Swearing, yelling and spitting at someone
  • Forcing someone to do things by scaring them
  • Driving recklessly to scare others in the car
  • Hurting family pets
  • Making someone feel scared to talk to their friends
Controlling / Financial / Social abuse
  • Not letting them have money or a job
  • Not sharing money needed to take care of the family
  • Checking their phone, email and social media
  • Following them around, spying on them
  • Locking them in a room or locking them in the house
  • Telling other people they’re crazy/stupid/horrible
Sexual abuse
  • Forcing someone to have sex when they don’t want to
  • Being forced to look at pornographic images
  • Unwanted touching 
(eg: being touched on the breasts, bum, or in a way that makes someone uncomfortable)
  • Unwanted sexual comments or jokes
  • Indecent exposure (eg: showing parts of their body to you or flashing their genitals)

If you or a child/young person in your family is experiencing any 
kind of unwanted sexual behaviour from a grown-up, contact 
CASA House immediately or call 1800 Respect.

Everyone must now report suspected child sexual abuse by law.

If you live in Victoria and you think a child is being sexually abused, adults MUST report child sexual abuse to Victoria Police Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team.

“By the time I was 14 I started drinking and smoking to cope. I had a serious car accident while I was drunk and that changed my life – I realised I wanted a good life and I had to heal myself.”

But there are things you can do to help keep you safe and take care of you.

If you think family violence or abuse is happening between your parents or in your family, the best thing you can do is find a grown-up you can trust to talk about it.

Visit this page to figure out what you can do to keep yourself safe, or learn how to deal with your feelings. There are also private phone lines and services you can call which can help you too.