Child abuse is any action towards a child or young person under 18 years of age that harms or puts at risk their physical, psychological or emotional health or development.
Child abuse can be:
Child abuse can be a one-off event or many things that happen over a period of time. It can happen anywhere: at school, at a child-care centre, in the community or at home. The abuse could be done by any adult, like a parent, a caregiver, a teacher or a family friend.
No one is allowed to use extreme force to hurt you, but it is not against the law for your parents to use physical punishment if it is ‘reasonable’, such as a smack, to discipline you.
However, if your parents are using more than a little bit of force, or they hurt you more than they should for someone your age or maturity, this can be against the law. If you feel that you are being punished too harshly, too often or are constantly scared of being hurt, or you have any injury after being hit, you should contact someone for help.
If you are in immediate danger of being hurt or abused, call the police on 000 and if you can, go to a secure place like to a trusted family friend, your school, a police station, or a medical centre.
If you have been hurt you should go to a doctor or hospital as soon as possible, so they can make sure you are okay.
If you are being abused or feel unsafe, you should talk to an adult you trust, like a close friend, your doctor or a teacher. They may have to report what is happening to the authorities, but the person who hurt you will not be told who reported it. We have provided you with a list of important contacts to call at the end of this page if you need to talk to someone else.
If someone contacts either the police or the Office for Children, Youth and Family Support, the authorities can come and investigate what is happening. Remember, information given to them is kept confidential – the person who hurt you will not be told who contacted them. There are a few different things that might then happen when the authorities investigate.
You will only be removed from your family as a last resort, and only if you are considered to be at risk of serious harm.
|To talk about anything that’s troubling you at all call the Kids Helpline. This is a supportive service for people between 5 and 25 years of age. They are available 24 hours.
You can also email them by going to: www.kidshelp.com.au/teens/get-help/email-counselling.
They also have an online chat service at some times of the day: www.kidshelp.com.au/teens/get-help/web-counselling.
|1800 55 1800|
|If you’d like some help reporting child abuse or need more information you can call the Child Abuse Prevention Service||1800 688 009|
You can report any abuse yourself by contacting:
|Australian Capital Territory||Office for Children, Youth and Family Support – Child Abuse Hotline
1300 556 729 (24 hours)
If you are having problems at home, you can get help here and we can give you free advice and information. Everything you tell us is confidential and we will not tell anyone, including your parents.
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