Young people experiencing domestic and family violence

What is domestic and family violence?

Domestic and family violence (DFV) is when one person uses violence or abuse to control the other person.

This can happen within your family, or if you are in a relationship, regardless of whether you're a young person or older person.

While some families may have arguments, and sometimes family members don’t get along, if an adult in your family is hurting, humiliating, threatening or frightening other people in your family then this could be DFV.

Find out more about the signs of DFV.

How DFV can make you feel

People experiencing DFV or abuse can have many different reactions. When faced with violence or abuse, you might:

  • put yourself at risk by trying to stop the abuse
  • blame yourself
  • copy the abusive behaviour
  • feel fearful, nervous, guilty or depressed
  • not perform as well as usual at school, uni or work
  • want to run away or leave home
  • attempt suicide or self-harm
  • want to use drugs or alcohol
  • develop an eating disorder
  • avoid spending time with your friends
  • experience restless sleep or start having nightmares
  • begin to stutter, or experience problems talking
  • worry about the safety of your family.

These feeling are a normal response to what is happening. If you're experiencing – or have experienced – any of the above, you should seek help.

If you're living in a house where there is DFV, remember:

  • don’t put yourself in danger to protect someone else
  • the violence isn't your fault – the only person responsible for the violence is the person who is being violent
  • you are not alone – there are people who can help you.

Report DFV

Phone Triple Zero (000) if DFV is happening now or a life is threatened.

If there is no immediate emergency, you can report DFV to the police by phoning Policelink on 13 14 44. You can also request non-urgent contact with the police by submitting an online form.

Find out more about how to report DFV.

Where to get help

If you are feeling unsafe and scared, it's important to know that help is available.

If you would like to talk to someone who can help, call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 any time, for any reason. You can also find help on the Kids Helpline website.

Phone DVConnect on 1800 811 811 (24/7) for free crisis support, including if you are escaping DFV and you need a safe place to live.

If you are not in danger, it’s not an emergency, and you want to discuss your situation to get a second opinion, have a chat with someone you can trust. This could be a friend, relative, workmate, teacher, lecturer or school guidance officer. Try to explain how you or your family has been hurt, even if it’s hard to find the right words. If they are unable to provide you with the support you need, please find a helpline or support service to call.

You can find information, services and support on our Domestic and Family Violence Portal. On the portal, you can find a local support service near you. These services provide a range of assistance such as counselling and support to people affected by DFV, including children. The portal also contains contact details and information about DFV helplines.

Stay safe

Here are some other things you could do to help stay safe in future:

  • Work out who you can trust to talk to about what is happening in your home.
  • Find a safe place in the house where you can go when the violence is happening.
  • Plan the best way to get out of your house quickly.
  • Ask a neighbour or friend who lives nearby if you can go to their house in an emergency. Make a plan for how to get there.
  • Make a list of people you want to call if you have to leave home quickly. Make sure you have their telephone numbers written down in a safe place or in your mobile.

Find out more about developing a safety plan.

Support a friend

Find out how you can support someone who is experiencing DFV.

You can also find support for people who are experiencing other forms of abuse.

More information

  • Domestic and Family Violence Portal.
  • DFV helplines.
  • What's OK at home? (WOAH) helps you to understand what family violence is, why it happens, how to recognise it, and how to help others who are experiencing it.
  • eheadspace provides free online and telephone support and counselling to young people aged 12 to 25 and their families and friends.
  • Beyond Blue can help young people aged 12 to 25 who are experiencing stress, anxiety or depression.
  • Reach Out helps young people to better cope with their lives.
  • Another Closet provides information for people in LGBTIQ relationships who are, or may be experiencing, DFV.