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 NSW who you can talk to and who can help you to deal with what’s going on.
For free and confidential legal advice about this topic, please contact us here.
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 and family violence is not just physical violence and it is a crime.There are a lot of ways domestic violence can happen. Some common examples 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;
- economic abuse: taking control of your money, not giving you enough money to survive on, forcing you to hand over your money, not letting you have a say in how it is spent;
- threatening or intimidating 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
- any other abuse to control or dominate you: stopping you from seeing your friends and family, or isolating you from others.
The person who is committing the domestic violence could be someone in your family, a boyfriend or girlfriend,or some other person living with you. It could be a relative, a parent or carer,or even your parents’ partner or ex-partner.
If you witness, overhear or are exposed to domestic violence, this may also be child abuse. You have the right to be safe from all types of abuse. See our factsheet on child abuse for more information.
What can I do about domestic violence?
Domestic violence is unacceptable and if you see it occur or are a victim of it, you can report it. Everyone has a right to be safe from any type of violence, and if you or anyone else is in immediate danger of being hurt, please call the Police on 000.
What will happen if I report domestic violence?
The Police or the authorities may investigate what is happening. If they are worried about your safety, a court order may be made preventing the person from hurting you, such as an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO).
Who can I talk to?
- 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 a teacher. If you aren’t comfortable talking to an adult you know, here are the details of some other people you can talk to:
- 1800RESPECT: 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 Domestic Violence Line is a 24/7 crisis support helpline run by the Department of Family and Community Services and can be contacted at 1800 656 463.
- Child Protection Helpline is a 24/7 helpline for reporting child abuse and neglect run by the Department of Family and Community Services. For general inquiries, call 132 111 or 1800 212 936. For urgent matters, call 133 627.
- Kids Helpline is a free counselling service that helps young people from age 5 to 25 years old. 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 here, or get in contact with their online chat service here. Their inbox is checked from 8am to 10pm daily and the online chat service is operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Woah.org 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.
August 3, 2018
June 20, 2019
Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)
Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW)