Domestic & Family Violence

For free and confidential legal advice about this topic, please contact us here.

Domestic violence, sometimes called family violence, is against the law. You have the right to feel safe at home and you should never have to see or experience it. It is okay to complain and to talk to someone.  There are lots of organisations in the ACT who you can talk to who can help you to deal with what’s going on.

Navigate this page

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence, sometimes called family violence, is when someone close to you threatens you or does something to harm you or someone else in your family. Domestic violence is not just physical violence. It can include:

  • physical assault: punching, hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, choking, or using weapons;
  • sexual assault: being forced to have sex or do sexual activities, either by watching or participating;
  • emotional or psychological abuse: making you feel worthless, criticising your personality, your looks, the way you dress, constantly putting you down;
  • threatening or harassing you: stalking, yelling, shouting, name-calling, swearing at you (this could be spoken or in writing, for example through SMS texting or Facebook);
  • damaging your property or harming your pets; or
  • threatening to do any of these things.

This person can be someone in your family or can be a boyfriend or girlfriend, a relative, a parent or guardian, or even your parents’ partner.

Domestic violence can happen to you, or someone else in your family, e.g. violence between your parents. If you see it happening to someone else in your family you should still report it.

If you are under 18 and are exposed to domestic violence, or you see or hear it happening, this could also be child abuse. You have the right to be safe from all types of abuse. See our page on Child Abuse for more information.

What can I do about domestic violence?

Domestic/family violence is unacceptable. If you see it occur or are a victim of it, you should report it. As a child you have a right to be safe from this violence, and there are many ways you can be safe from this type of violence.

  1. If you or anyone else is in immediate danger of being hurt, call the Police immediately on 000.
  2. If you feel unsafe or are in danger you can also call the Care and Protection Services Hotline on 1300 556 729.
  3. You may like to call someone at Kids Helpline. This is a very supportive service to help people from age 5 to 25 years old, and they keep everything confidential. You don’t even have to give them your name or personal details if you don’t want to. You can call them 24 hours a day on 1800 55 1800.  It’s a free call from any Telstra, Optus or Vodafone mobile.

You can also email them at: They also have an online chat service at

What will happen if I report domestic violence?

If you call the Police or Care and Protection Services, the person who is causing the violence will not be told that you have reported it BUT the Police or the authorities may investigate what is happening. If they are worried about your safety, the police can apply for a court order to stop someone hurting you.  This is called a Domestic Violence Order.

Who can I talk to about my feelings?

If you feel unsafe in your home because of the violence that is happening, it is important to talk to someone. If you do not speak to anyone, or report what is happening, then no one will know what is going on and they can’t help you. You could talk to an adult you trust and feel comfortable with, like a family friend or your teacher. Below is a list of important contacts you can call if you need to talk to someone else.

  • 1800RESPECT(National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service) provides 24 hour counselling, support and referral for anyone whose life has been impacted by sexual, domestic or family violence on 1800 737 732
  • The Office for Children, Youth and Family Support: you can make a report of family violence or child abuse on their 24 hour Care and Protection Services Hotline at 1300 556 729.
  • Domestic Violence Crisis Service has a 24 hour crisis support and care service. They also offer referrals and counselling services. Contact them at 6280 0900 or 6228 1852.
  • Bursting the Bubble is a website designed specifically for children and young people on issues of domestic violence.

If you’re under 25 and you have a question about domestic violence that we haven’t answered here, please ask us a question here and we can give you some free information and advice.

Got a question you can't get answered?

If you have a problem or a question, you can send it to us today and we can provide you with free advice, information and referrals to help solve your problem. Just click on the button below.

Get help now

Select Your State or Territory

The law is different in each state and territory. Please select your state or territory to view legal information that applies to you.